2 years after marathon bombing, state renews offer of aid
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is renewing its push to aid those injured and traumatized by the Boston Marathon bombing, the state’s attorney general said Friday.
The state’s Office of Victim Assistance is continuing to offer survivors of the attack access to experts on mental health, rehabilitation and hearing loss, Attorney General Maura Healey said.
Ongoing trauma can manifest in a number of ways, from trouble sleeping and feelings of isolation to an inability to focus and being easily startled by loud noises, said Liam Lowney, executive director of the victim assistance office.
“These are all normal reactions to violence,” he said.
He urged those who have experienced the symptoms after the attacks — or other crimes — to contact the office.
Tom Ralston was at the marathon finish line in 2013 when he heard the first explosion and thought a Jumbotron had collapsed. Then the second bomb exploded close to where he was standing, throwing him to the ground.
Ralston suffered burns to his legs, shrapnel wounds to his hand and perforated eardrums.
While he has largely recovered from his physical injuries — although his hearing has not returned to where it was before the attack — Ralston said when he was back home from the hospital he began to experience other symptoms from the trauma, including bouts of uncontrollable crying and a heightened sense of awareness to his surroundings.
He said he felt like “a basket case” and eventually decided to reach out for help.
“It was the unseen problems of what happened psychologically that I wasn’t in tune with,” Ralston said during a Statehouse event Friday. “It’s OK to ask for help. It really is.”
Healey said that while the state has been impressed by the resiliency of survivors of the attack, it’s important to let those whose lives have been deeply troubled by the bombings know that the state is ready to help.