The shocking events at the Boston Marathon traumatized and changed the lives of thousands of people.
American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter volunteer Wesley Mukoyama used his experience as a clinical social worker to help people affected come to terms with their experiences.
The Santa Clara resident flew to Boston on April 30, two weeks after the bombings, and spent 12 days assessing the psychological health of, and providing emotional support to, first responders, victims, and witnesses.
“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) happens at different times,” explained the former Veteran’s Affairs clinical social worker who worked in Palo Alto for more than 30 years helping Vietnam Veterans recover from PTSD.
“People can be OK at first, but then all these thoughts and feelings come up that can disrupt their daily lives,” he added.
Wesley said some people simply needed someone to talk to or to learn techniques to help cope with stress, while others needed referrals to therapists for longer-term counseling.
“I enjoy the work because I see results. I think the Red Cross does a great job,” Wesley explained.
The Red Cross offers free counseling and support on a 24-hour helpline for anyone who has been affected by a disaster at 1-800-985-5990.