Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore sent an email to BU students Thursday encouraging them to reflect on the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and provided information on counseling resources available to help students cope with emotions provoked by the bombing’s anniversary.
“It came too quick, but next week I’ll have to acknowledge that the tragedy happened a year ago,” Elmore said in the email. “The youthful energy and celebration of Patriots’ Day — a beautiful Marathon Monday — was destroyed by a bombing close to where I spend much of my time. I still find it difficult to think about the day, but try to end my reflections with a hopeful spirit.”
Resources available to students include eight support groups, held from April 15, the anniversary of the bombings, through April 23, which are hosted by Student Health Services and the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders.
Counseling sessions for students who needed help coping with the aftermath of the bombings was also provided in the past, said SHS Director David McBride.
“We had a long series of support groups and individual appointments with students and community members after last year’s events,” he said. “This is our typical approach when there is a tragic event in the community, though the scale of this event was dramatically larger.”
Elmore said he sent the email as a reminder to the student body of resources already available at BU, and acknowledged that the community might reflect on last year’s tragedy in different ways, either in mourning or in private rituals.
“We always have counseling available for students,” he said in an interview. “All we are doing is trying to get the world out to people about it.”
McBride said counseling focused on the Marathon bombings was again made available as the anniversary of the attacks may compel those affected to seek help.
“Many students, faculty and staff were deeply affected by the bombing last year,” he said. “It is typical for strong feelings to reemerge on the anniversary of a tragic event. We want to be sure that support is being offered to those who need it.”
Elmore said one-on-one sessions as well as group conversations are available to provide a variety of counseling settings for students with differing needs.
“You [have] got to know yourself and know whether or not it’s important for you to sit with others and talk about this,” he said. “That is my advice — know yourself.”
The anniversary of the bombings is an opportunity for people to reflect about what happened, Elmore said.
“Take a moment for yourself over the course of the next few weeks,” he said. “Figure out — what is it that is important for you to make you continue to have hope and to have a spirit of hope and an orientation of hope for yourself?”
Several students said counseling services are useful for those affected by tragedy.
College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Sean Matuszak said group discussions were an important service to offer.
“The memories might be fresh. Some people are probably still worried,” Matuszak said. “Some people might still be a little uneasy and nervous so it might be good to get a whole bunch of people together and help out.”
Michelle Predi, a junior in CAS, said people were deeply affected by the bombings and should be able to express their feelings about the tragedy.
“Feelings are always brought up anew around the anniversary of an event like this,” she said. “It [counseling] is a good idea, especially because we … also have to try to keep the culture of Marathon Monday alive.”