Twin Towers Fund Suicide Prevention Project for 9/11 World Trade Center Responders
7-Dippity created and implemented a depression/suicide awareness and prevention project for first responders to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, funded by the Twin Towers Fund.
HISTORY OF THE PROJECT
The Twin Towers Fund was created to assist the families of the members of the uniformed services and civilian rescue workers who lost their lives or were seriously injured on September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center in New York City. Over the course of its existence, the Fund raised and distributed over $216 million to families of law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS, and other public safety personnel who responded to the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
As time passed from 9/11, it became clear that many first responders and their families would continue to need assistance in dealing with the long-term impacts of that tragic day and the difficult aftermath. To assist, the Fund brought in 7-Dippity in June 2003 to develop a project to help first responders and their families cope with some of the long-term mental health effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
7-Dippity worked directly with the Fire Department of New York City (FDNY), New York City Police Department (NYPD), Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) and Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City (REMSCO), as well as numerous other non-departmental providers.
Project materials were distributed throughout each Department and incorporated into a variety of departmental and non-departmental support programs. Materials and professional development workshops were also provided to department clinicians and community-based organizations supporting the first responders and their families.
PEER MODEL DEVELOPMENT
To best reach the rescue workers and their families, 7-Dippity developed a new, peer-based psychoeducational model. All materials and professional development for the project were peer-based, utilizing the responders themselves as the experts relating their experiences, insights, lessons learned and coping advice to their respective colleagues, families and friends.
To gather this information, first person interviews were conducted of public safety personnel within each department. The interviews were conducted on a voluntary basis, with the identity of those interviewed remaining anonymous. Participants were from various demographics such as age, rank, ethnicity, gender and job type. After the interviews were completed, they were compiled and analyzed. We then used direct quotes from the interviews to develop “Peer Guides” for each department.
7-Dippity is honored to have been chosen for this important and worthwhile project. We look forward to continuing to support the rescue workers and their families in the years to come.