Manchester Arena Bombing – The Young and Most Debilitated Poorly Served?

Young people effected by the bombing are having to wait 7-8 months for CAMHS services. The most debilitated adults have sought private counselling or been placed on a CBT waiting list.  These findings are from the Kerslake report on Services response to the Manchester bombing published last week. Worryingly there is no indication that evidence based CBT has yet been made available. This is not to say that most people have not been grateful for the assistance they have had to date, but this is not unexpected as only a significant minority of trauma victims suffer long term debility.

 

 

 

The following are the psychological abstracts from the report:

2.27. Feedback about the NHS Manchester Resilience Hub (established after the attack

to coordinate the care and support for children, young people and adults whose

mental health has been affected by the attack wherever they may live) was largely

positive, although many commented they would have liked something sooner.

Participants appreciated the three-monthly contacts from the Hub and felt

reassured that someone was there for them.

 

“I think the services set up to help those struggling with their mental health

following this event are great too and I feel happy knowing there is always

someone I can talk to if I need to.”

 

“I do however feel that there is a lack of counselling for young people.”

“The counselling support provided in the hospital did not appear to have the skill

level or approach for this type of situation. The counsellor was super-intrusive

coming into the room at 7am.”

 

“I contacted the Resilience Hub and both me and my daughter filled out the

questionnaire. Someone contacted us straight away and felt that my daughter

needed further support, which was arranged quickly. I felt there was lots of

support available. I also felt it helpful that the Hub were going to keep sending

questionnaires every three months to check how people are doing.”

 

“My son was referred for counselling through the Manchester Resilience Hub and

is on a waiting list for CBT as they feel he may have Post-Traumatic Stress

Disorder. The counsellors from Reflections in Oldham are brilliant.”

 

“My GP was extremely helpful and made a referral to CAMHS, however, there is a

seven-month waiting list.”

 

“My daughter has been referred to CAMHS for PTSD and low mood, however,

there is an eight month wait for this.”

 

“The counsellor at my daughter’s school is very good and offered to do some

sessions for me too. I went back multiple times and found it helpful.”

 

“The caller said she was told how she was feeling was normal and that they would

call her in three weeks. This wasn’t helpful as at the time she needed to speak to

somebody.”

 

“I feel as though the email received in October could have been sent earlier to

those who had been affected by the attack. I feel as though I have come a long

way since May. I’m less jumpy, having less nightmares and emailing my story was

nice to get it off my chest.”

 

“The attack has affected my mental health to the extent that I have been unable to

start my university course as planned. My mental health deteriorated, I had to

seek private psychotherapy after being diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety.”

 

“I have been in touch with the Survivors’ Network as well as the Manchester

Resilience Hub and they all provided great support. The Foundation for Peace

have written to the children’s school with tips on how to support them.”

 

“My place of work paid for private counselling sessions; I was a mess and did not

stop crying for the first three sessions. I have not been in work since the attack. I

spend most of my time talking to a war veteran who gives me support.”

4.39. The strategy was to communicate a ‘normalisation’ and support message not only

in Greater Manchester but via NHS national networks. The advice given was that

directing people into treatment at an early stage was potentially harmful and was

an inappropriate response to normal responses which people experience after

such an incident. If, after four weeks, people were experiencing difficulty e.g.

mood shifts, trouble sleeping, experiencing panic, then they should be pointed to

further mental health support. This advice relating to psychological reactions to

traumatic experiences was widely circulated within hours of the incident,

describing what were normal reactions, when to seek help, and from where to get

help. Efforts were made to circulate these messages through a range of media

platforms including digital and broadcast

 

Dr Mike Scott

NOTE: Victim Support provided the front door in the 1st 4 weeks after the bombing

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