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The 9/11 Fund Ignores Mental Illness

June 22, 2011

It seems that the 9/11 Victims’ Compensation Fund, while still trying to iron out who will be covered, has concluded that one population of New Yorkers won’t: the ones with mental illness.

In announcing this remarkable exclusion, the fund’s “special master” noted that it was intended to help those who were unable to work after 9/11. Apparently she thinks having a psychiatric disorder doesn’t interfere with work. Can’t help wondering what she thinks disorder means.

People claiming mental illness will be eligible for aid under a separate (and much less funded) section of the legislation that established the fund. But the message, that mental health isn’t as important as physical health (and that a disorder such as PTSD somehow doesn’t harm a person’s professional and financial life) is disappointing, to say the least.

Commuters who took the New York subway today might have noticed the Metro newspaper’s coverage of this issue—they made the decision their lead story. Kudos to the Metro for drawing attention to an issue that too many are still trying to ignore.

Tagged with: Mental Health, Public Policy
Rachel Ehmke
Rachel Ehmke is a freelance writer and the former managing editor at the Child Mind Institute. She holds a BA … Read Bio