September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance


The anniversary of a terrorist attack or disaster can serve as a powerful reminder of earlier reactions to the tragedy, and can trigger renewed feelings of anxiety, sorrow, and concerns about the future. These reactions even after 15 years can interfere with daily functioning at home, work, or school.

In 2009, U.S. Congress designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. On the days leading up to and including September 11th, Americans will participate in activities to pay tribute to 9/11 victims, survivors, their families, and responders by joining to together in service projects to meet community needs. For opportunities to volunteer or ideas to do a good deed, visit

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has compiled resources for disaster response workers, educators, families, medical personnel, mental health professionals, and youth to help with recurring reactions and with current stresses and adversities. 

Page Contents

Featured NCTSN Resources

Adolescence and Substance Abuse
Includes tools and materials to help mental health clinicians, substance abuse treatment providers, parents, caregivers, and youth address the complex needs pertaining to substance abuse issues and trauma.

Economic Stress
Includes a selection of resources and fact sheets about economic stress, resilience and adjustments as economic changes can greatly affect individuals, families, and communities. Provides materials that include descriptions of economic downturn impacts along with practical ways to help youth, parents, and communities address their problems, stay connected, network, and cope better during economic challenges.

Parenting in a Challenging World (2005) (PDF)
Offers help for parents and caregivers of children who have experienced a traumatic event and subsequent adverserties afterwards. This resource addresses questions, such as, What does a family do to heal after a child has experienced a traumatic event? Will my child recover? How have other people coped?

Self Care: Taking Care of Yourself
Addresses needs for taking care of yourself before, during, and after an anniversary by providing an inventory and guidance to increase awareness, balance, and connection for effective self care.

Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR)
SPR is an evidence-informed modular intervention that aims to help survivors gain skills to manage distress and cope with post-disaster stress and adversity. SPR is not a formal mental health treatment, but a secondary prevention model that utilizes skills-building components that have been found helpful in a variety of post-trauma situations and during anniversaries.

Strategies to Manage Challenges for EMS Families (2008) (PDF)
Discusses some of the many challenges for parents who work in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) field. Describes strategies for dealing with each of the challenges outlined, addressing the unique set of stressors experienced by EMS workers, their significant others, and their children. Created by the North Shore–Long Island Jewish Health System Adolescent Trauma Treatment Development Center in conjunction with the Center for Emergency Medical Services.

Terrorism, Disaster and Children Speaker Series
This webinar series focus on assessing and treating the impact of disasters and secondary adversities in preschool children, school-aged children, and youth following a disaster. The presenters discuss developmental issues, parent issues, assessment, treatment, and preparedness. Several of the webinars highlight lessons learned from September 11th. The most relevant presentations during this anniversary time period are identified.

Tips for Families on Anticipating Anniversary Reactions to Traumatic Events (2002) (PDF)
   >En Español: Sugerencias para la familia que anticipa reacciones adversas al aproximarse el aniversario de un  acontecimiento traumático (2002) (PDF)
Offers advice on how to deal with the feelings that arise with anniversaries of tragic events―including renewal of early reactions and feelings, and increasing worries about something similar happening again. As an anniversary of a public tragedy approaches, there is increased media attention, which may be accompanied by warnings, rumors, myths, and misconceptions that can easily add to families’ worries. Tips include information on what to look for, who might need special support, and how you can help. Includes links to other resources.

Traumatic Grief
Overview of normal grief and grieving processes, and how they differ from traumatic grief. Childhood traumatic grief may occur following a death of someone important to the child when the child perceives the experience as traumatic. NCTSN resources include videos, training curricula, and educational materials for parents, educators, pediatricians, media, and other providers.

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For Educators

9/11 Memorial
A national tribute of remembrance and honor to the men, women, and children killed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. Includes various education programs, lesson plans, teaching guides, webcasts, interactive timelines, and other educational resources

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

  • Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for School Staff (2011) (PDF)
    Practical ways to help youth address their problems, stay connected, network, and cope better during economic downturns. Explains how challenging financial circumstances can affect school personnel, teachers, and their students' sense of safety, ability to calm, self- and community efficacy, connectedness, and hope.
  • Self Care for Educators (2008) (PDF)
       >En Español: Auto-ayuda para educadores (2008) (PDF)
    Tips to help educators who experience secondary traumatic stress through working directly with traumatized children and adolescents. Information includes how to recognize the signs of compassion fatigue, find support, and care for themselves.

For Action Initiative
This program grew out of Families of September 11 and its mission is to raise awareness about the effects of public trauma and terrorism and to educate teachers and youth about the history of terrorism, international relations, global security, and domestic and international policies. This website has teacher tools, lesson plans, and other resources.

National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Resources to support parents, educators, and other caregivers to help children deal with the anniversary of September 11. Includes advice on teaching children to process their reactions in a healthy way, fostering resilience and coping skills, and much more. Tip sheets are available in English and Spanish.

Project Rebirth
An organization that recognizes “the unique preparedness needs of first responders as the frontline of disaster recovery.” Seeks to “chronicle living history and honor 9/11 victims and first responders, and to advance educational initiatives committed to pre-trauma resiliency building for first responders.”

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For Families and Youth

American Psychological Association (APA)

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD)
Offers a variety of resources for veterans, general public and family/friends on PTSD and ways to manage reactions.

  • PTSD Coach App
    Offers over a dozen self-help tools to help manage stress after trauma. This organization also offer several self-help mobile apps for Apple and Android mobile devices, such as PTSD Coach, Mindfulness Coach, and Mood Coach.

Tuesday's Children
Formed after 911, this organization is a response and recovery organization that supports youth, families, and communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss. They offer various programs for 911 family members, families of fallen military, and 911 First Responder families.

Voices of September 11th
Provides information and resources for 9/11 families, rescue workers, and survivors. Includes support programs; forums; mental health and educational services to promote resiliency; up-to-date information through the website, newsletter, and direct mailings; and commemorative events to honor the lives and stories of September 11th. Also promotes public policy reform on prevention of, preparedness for, and response to terrorism; works to build bridges between international communities that have been changed by terrorism; and much more. More recently, VOICES launched the Center of Excellence for Community Resilience which shares lessons learned to assist communities in healing after acts of natural disasters or mass violence. 

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For Service Providers/Agencies

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

  • Disaster Distress Helpline
    Is a national hotline dedicated to providing crisis counseling for people experiencing emotional distress related to a disaster. Additional resources are offered including tips for individuals who experienced mass violence or disaster, strategies for addressing anniversaries and trigger events, and risk factors for develping traumatic stress.
  • Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC)
    Supports “SAMHSA's efforts to prepare States, Territories, Tribes, and local entities to deliver an effective mental health and substance abuse (behavioral health) response to disasters.” Includes webinars and podcasts, Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series, and tip sheets for first responders and survivors.

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