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'Conversations,' Symposium To Examine Mental Health Implications Of Sept. 11 Attacks

ATLANTA….National experts and public officials concerned about the mental health implications of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States will gather at the 18th Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy Nov. 6-7 at The Carter Center.

The meeting, which is not open to the public, includes former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and will address the need for better preparedness and practices in both the private and public sectors to deal with common trauma reactions, including sleep disorders, stress, and substance abuse.

Members of the public are invited to attend the opening panel discussion, "In the Wake of September 11," which is the third in this year's Conversations at The Carter Center discussion series at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5.

Read more about the

Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy


"In the Wake of September 11,"

third in this year's

Conversations at The Carter Center

"Decision makers need to include procedures for dealing with the mental health consequences of disasters as an essential part of their overall planning and preparedness strategies. These procedures are as essential as antidotes or gas masks to the future long-term health of our citizens," says the Carter Center's new Mental Health Program Director Dr. Thomas Bornemann, who will moderate the panel discussion.

Participants will include:

  • Dr. Julie Gerberding, newly appointed director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an expert on the anthrax and smallpox threats.
  • Dr. Neal Cohen, executive director of the newly created Center on Bioterrorism. As former New York City health commissioner, he directed the response to all public health emergencies immediately after the attacks there.
  • Dr. Robert Ursano, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, who was involved in the recuperative efforts after the Pentagon attack and is an expert in the psychological effects of crisis and disaster.

A question-and-answer period for the audience and news media will follow their remarks.

Panel discussions for the Nov. 6-7 Symposium, which are closed to the public, will examine the impact of what has been called a "psychological epidemic." A post-9/11 study done for the New York City Board of Education reveals that 10.5 percent of 8,000 schoolchildren show multiple symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder, 15 percent have a fear of public places, 12 percent have separation anxiety disorder, and 9 percent have panic disorder. On Sept.11, high school junior Scarlet Taveras ran for her life as the World Trade Center exploded a block away. She says she's been more prone to anger and sleepless nights ever since. Mrs. Carter says, "The terrible events of Sept.11 showed our nation that no one is immune from terrorism. We must prepare ourselves for future disasters, and mental health issues need to be considered during local, state, and national planning and preparation activities."

Conversations and the Symposium will both take place at The Carter Center, Ivan Allen Pavilion, 453 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30307


NOTE TO MEDIA: Please contact Jon Moor, (404) 420-5107, Office of Public Information, to arrange access and schedule interviews for either of the above events. Click here for details on the two-day symposium agenda and speakers available for media interviews.

NOTE TO GENERAL PUBLIC: The Nov. 5 Conversations event is open to the public. Click here for ticket information, speaker bios, and further 'Conversations' information. Please call (404) 420-3804 to make a reservation. The Nov. 6-7 Symposium is open only to the media.

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