The devastation in Japan left many students asking what they could do to help.
When I was in kindergarten, the OKC Murrah Building was blown up by a bomb. This experience was quite shocking for me, but since it was not in my town, I was not nearly as affected by this disaster as Carlene Pinto. When Pinto was in middle school, she watched the second World Trade Center Tower crash to the ground and then walked home as paperwork and dust fell from the sky all around her. Lindsay Yates was another young child who saw disaster strike her hometown when Hurricane Fran killed 24 people in her state. What do we three women have in common besides tragic events in our childhoods? We could all study disaster mental health at SUNY New Paltz.
The university is one of many schools that are now offering programs that focus on emergency management and disaster response. This new trend is in direct response to the numerous catastrophes that have plagued our nation and the world in recent years. In 2001, there were only about 70 emergency-management programs in the USA; today, that number is more than 230.
“This generation has never known a time without terrorism or disaster, and I think it has drawn many of them to this field,” said Karla Vermeulen of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health. “They were 10 at the time of 9/11 and 14 during Katrina, and it’s really shaped them.”
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