Few marathon bombing survivors seeking help for 'invisible' wounds

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The Sun Chronicle
Associated Press

Dr. Rebecca Brendel, Director of the Master’s Program at the HMS Center for Bioethics, on the muted response to counseling services at the One Fund Center.


BOSTON - Two years after the Boston Marathon bombings, few survivors appear to be taking advantage of free wellness programs meant to help with anxiety, stress, insomnia and other "invisible injuries" that can be just as devastating as losing a limb.

Just 42 survivors have pursued treatment for such problems through the One Fund Center, which was launched in September to aid the 240 victims and family members who received payouts from the main charity established in the wake of the blasts.

The Massachusetts Resiliency Center - which opened in October to help with behavioral and mental health problems suffered by the scores of people who may have been traumatized by the April 15, 2013, bombings or the ensuing manhunt - has served only a few hundred.

Although the centers have funding for at least two years, organizers fear it may be years before many survivors understand the emotional toll and decide to seek help.

Dr. Rebecca Brendel, a psychiatrist who is medical director for the One Fund Center, said she's not surprised at the muted response so far.

"We always expected that demand for traditional psychiatric and mental health care would not be high," she said. "This is a population that is incredibly resilient. This is not a fundamentally traumatized population. We certainly don't want to identify this community as sick or mentally ill."

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