NHS publishes information to support people affected by the terror attack in Manchester

After the initial shock of the terrible events in Manchester, NHS England advises on immediate and longer-term care and support for the children and adults affected by the attack.

Since Monday 22 May, a wealth of information has been made available – the purpose of this package is to bring the best evidenced based advice into one place.

NHS staff are working with charities, local government, community services, schools and colleges across Greater Manchester and in the surrounding areas to provide vital support to people affected by these tragic events.

It is common to experience a range of symptoms when exposed to significant trauma such as the incident in Manchester.  Every individual will respond to trauma in a different way. Reactions are likely to be strongest in those who directly witnessed the aftermath of the attack – survivors, bereaved families, friends, emergency services and healthcare workers looking after the injured.

It is important to recognise that these reactions are natural responses, and while they can be incredibly distressing, many of these symptoms will reduce over time. However, young children, people who have experienced other traumatic events and those with existing mental health difficulties may be more vulnerable.

Dr Prathiba Chitsabesan, Consultant Child and Adolescent Mental Health Psychiatrist and Associate Clinical Director for Mental Health at NHS England, said: “Parents and carers have a crucial role in supporting their child through this time more effectively. By giving them an opportunity to talk when they are ready, reassuring them that they are safe and feeling upset by such an event is normal, will really help in reducing the risk of longer term problems. Some young people may need additional support to help them cope and the information provided will help parents know how best to do this.

“It’s also important to know it’s not only those children directly involved that will be affected – we know that children can be upset by frightening or tragic events they witness through the media.”

Professor Tim Kendall, National Clinical Director for Mental Health at NHS England, said: “It is normal and understandable that people might be feeling upset and a little overwhelmed, but most will recover in time. In the early stages, rushing in with psychological help is not usually needed and can be damaging in some cases, but talking is key – people need to talk to someone they trust about what happened and how it has affecting them. For those who need additional support, good treatment is available and with good NHS care many people will come out the other side stronger and more resilient.”

This guidance is aimed at anyone affected by the incident at Manchester Arena. It has been drawn together by clinical experts using the best available evidence.