Mental Health Expert Shares Memories of 9-11

All over the country people are remembering where they were five years ago today, as the nation pauses to remember the people who died in the terror attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. A mental health official from Texas has his memories of the aftermath of that day, as Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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Sandy Skelton directs the Texas Council of Community Centers for the Texas Department of Mental Health Mental Retardation in Austin. Five years ago Skelton was one of many mental health professionals from all over the country who went to New York City after 9-11 to help the people working at Ground Zero. Skelton says many of those people are still suffering, mentally and physically.

"The ones I think about are the ones that were actually recovering bodies. Firefighters, NYPD, and even some of the construction workers were helping with that. How are they doing is the question, and I know many of them have had problems, and now we read in the media here recently that about 70 percent of them are having respiratory problems."

Skelton says 9-11's impact on our national consciousness is just like the impact of the Pearl Harbor attack on the World War Two generation.

"The attacks on September 11th, the number of deaths were higher than the deaths at Pearl Harbor on December 7 of 41, but both events will be remembered forever by the people that were living. Even the young folks today will always remember 9-11."

Skelton spoke at a 9-11 remembrance at the Houston MHMRA community center, in honor of a former Texas mental health doctor whose family was killed on 9-11 in the plane that went down near Shanksville Pennsylvania. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.

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