International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies


Special Address from ISTSS President
ISTSS Responds to Terror Attacks in the United States

Bonnie Green
ISTSS President

Since the events of September 11, 2001, have impinged on our world, nothing seems quite the same. The enormity of the tragedy is only beginning to be appreciated, and there are undoubtedly short- and long-term consequences that we can't even imagine. Our hearts are heavy for those who died and their families, for those who were injured, for the nation, for the world community, and for our colleagues in ISTSS who are personally touched by these events.

We have received many messages of concern and support from friends and colleagues around the world, which gives us hope for the healing process as we go forward. As each of us contributes in his or her own way, we may consider ourselves fortunate to be able to contribute to recovery and healing, when others despair at not being able to do more, although it is difficult to feel that anything we do is enough. We need to remember to take care of ourselves-and of each other-during these times, so we will be able to sustain our efforts for the long term.

Aware of the multitudes of people who would suffer mental distress after the terror attacks, ISTSS responded quickly toward the recovery effort by offering assistance to colleagues and the public at large. New material was quickly pulled together for the front page of the society's Web site, with the focus on mental health needs of survivors, the clinicians responding to them, and the general public. Two press releases were distributed to the media and mental health agencies, the longer one including educational information about responses to traumatic events over time and addressing the backlash against some fellow citizens and those from Arab or Muslim countries.

In this issue, you will find a report from headquarters about our response to date, as well as a message from Program Chair Mary Ann Dutton describing our developing plans for changes and additional sessions to the annual meeting in December in light of the recent events. We also include messages from our colleagues in New York and Washington, DC, who are responding to the tragedy.

As we go to press with this issue of Traumatic StressPoints, we now see things through a different lens. But other ISTSS activities go on as well and are covered in this issue, having been placed on hold after the events of September 11 intervened. We invite you to take it all in, and let us know what you want and need in the next several months-and going forward. Join us in the sadness and the grief, but also in the energy and sense of accomplishment for what we have done this year so far, and what challenges us in the wake of tragedy.