MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – In a Southwest High School government class, there was no shortage of students willing to chime in. The day’s topic was one lesson in current events they’ve all been anxiously awaiting.
In the classroom of seniors, students were just seven or eight years old when, so suddenly, their world seemed to be coming apart. The horrors of 9/11 and its aftermath have been with them for about as long as many of them remember.
“There were a lot of people that had PTSD-like symptoms,” said Dr. Charles Schulz, who heads the University of Minnnesota’s Department of Psychiatry. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
He believes that the jubilation being felt by those of high school and college age is totally expected.
“I think one of the reasons is that this horrible event of 9/11 occurred at developmental stage for these young people,” said Schulz. “It just had an effect on them that only now we’re realizing how horrible it was then.”
In fact, post-9/11 studies focusing on younger people have shown a rise in anxiety, depression and sleeplessness. It is most apparent among those who were adolescents at the time of the 2001 terror attacks. Additionally, symptoms associated with PTSD also spiked following the attacks.
“Since I’ve known about current events, it’s been the biggest current event that’s been going on,” explained Allison Bertelson, a University of Minnesota senior.
For both Bertelson and fellow student John Sell, the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden brings a sense of relief. The man who haunted their childhood dreams is dead.
“Just seeing all the students and people rally outside of the White House, it made me proud to be an American, knowing that bin Laden is now gone,” said Sell.