Well-being advice issued for those affected by Manchester terror attack

Mental health advice and support for people affected by the Manchester terrorist attack has been released by the NHS.

Mental health advice and support for people affected by the Manchester terrorist attack has been released by the NHS.

Fear, sadness, anger and distressing thoughts are part of the recovery process. 
Picture: Getty Images

The guidance is for anyone affected by the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena on Monday night in which 22 people, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed and 64 injured.

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, which is treating casualties of the attack and released the guidance, says the emotional effects will be felt most by survivors, bereaved families, and emergency service and healthcare staff.

It lists common reactions to traumatic events and advice on what those affected can do.

Nursing staff praised

The RCN has praised nursing staff who treated those caught up in the attack after the Ariana Grande concert, but urged them to be mindful of their own mental health as a result of the incident and its aftermath.

In the first few weeks after such an event, those affected may experience emotional reactions such as feeling afraid, sad, overwhelmed, angry, numb or disoriented, the guidance says.

Other responses include distressing thoughts and images coming into the mind, nightmares, disturbed sleep or insomnia.

The wellbeing guidance says these are normal reactions and are part of the recovery process, but urges people affected to take the following steps:

  • Spend time with people close to you.
  • Talk to those you feel comfortable with about what happened.
  • Talk at your own pace and as much as you feel is useful.
  •  Take time to grieve and cry if needed.
  • Ask for emotional and practical support from friends, family members, and community or religious centres.
  • Try to return to everyday routines and habits. Eat and sleep well, exercise and relax. 
  • Spend time doing something enjoyable if possible.

The guidance also urges people to be understanding about how they are feeling and be willing to listen to others who need to talk about their emotions.

For children, the advice says to reassure them that they are safe, keep to routines and prevent them from seeing too many frightening pictures or coverage of the event. 

Professional help

People who are still feeling very upset or fearful a month after the incident, or feeling jumpy or acting very differently compared with before the trauma, should seek professional psychological help.

RCN professional lead for acute, emergency and critical care Anna Crossley said her thoughts were with the victims and their families. She said such an event could be a ‘lot to take in’ for nurses and students.

'It’s important that nursing staff working in these traumatic situations take the time to process events, discuss them with others and care for their own mental health,' she said.

Find out where to seek further help

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