When the world is falling apart, the place to call is Youth and Family Counseling of Oyster Bay-East Norwich. That is why we called YFCA Director Peter Thompson.
He said YFCA is offering help not only to residents affected by the World Trade Center attack, but to the firefighters and any other group that is involved with helping directly with the cleanup or indirectly.
If you are distraught or upset, they are available, he said.
The YFCA will send a social worker to a group at the firehouse or another group's location so they can give vent to their feelings about what they saw. It is needed, Mr. Thompson said, even to allow them to continue to do their work.
He said the most important thing to do is to tell the community that the help is ongoing. "Our help will be available in the long run and not just at the moment."
Another important aspect of their care is that, "Whenever someone wants to talk to someone, we will get back to them immediately."
He said they monitor their phones to make sure they are there for you. "We are not letting people wait for a particular day to get an appointment," he said. "It is important for people to know that we are available at their time."
He offered advice of what to do when comforting a friend. "When I have a crisis and a friend or relative says - I am available to you - even if I don't need them at the moment - the message comforts me."
He said the story is still unfolding. "While we are inundated with pictures, we still have to deal with it when the reality of events strikes us, and there is still the military response to consider."
What has pleased him is that a great many organizations are offering help including the United Way, and the local churches - whatever group it is, it helps the community in the long haul.
"So many churches are offering grief counseling. That is great. It is wonderful-the response people's mental health is getting from society. I think it's great: the therapists and the organizations. That has been one of the problems caregivers have had: getting people to accept the need for mental health care."
Mr. Thompson said often people don't know what to do for those facing the grief of loss. He said the important thing is to let people know you are available. You don't necessarily have to be wise, just be there for people. You don't have to solve the problems, but have to be available.
"Like Job in the Bible, his friends came and gave him a hard time, but at least they were there to listen.
"Listen to them and be there physically for them," he said.
"There are so many people helping in the community and we say 'right on' and 'We are there to help you,'" he added.
We knew that, and just wanted to remind you that the people of YFCA are there to help the community face the repercussions of September 11.