Help and support after a traumatic event

If you have been involved in, or affected by, a traumatic event such as a terror attack, then it is likely that you will suffer short-term effects.

Some emotions people may experience include:

  • Fear
  • Helplessness
  • Increased alertness for danger
  • Fatigue
  • Intrusive thoughts or images of the event
  • Nightmares
  • Avoidance of places that may remind you of the event
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Memories of previous traumatic events

These are normal responses to making sense of traumatic events. While these feelings can be distressing, they will usually reduce over time. A variety of practical, emotional and social support from family and friends can be very powerful in helping to manage these difficult experiences.

Some things that might help include:

  • share your feelings with someone you feel comfortable with (friends, family, co-workers)
  • talk at your own pace and as much as you feel it’s useful
  • be willing to listen to others who may need to talk about how they feel
  • take time to cry if you need to – letting feelings out is helpful
  • ask for emotional and practical support from friends, family members, your community or religious centre
  • try to spend some time doing something that feels good and that you enjoy
  • try to return to everyday routines and habits. They can be comforting and help you feel less out of sorts. Look after yourself: eat and sleep well, exercise and relax.

Most people go on to recover, but sometimes distress may last longer. If experiences and feelings persist beyond 2-4 weeks then you should consider seeking further advice from your GP or local services. Those who are struggling to keep themselves safe should urgently seek advice from either their GP, NHS 111 or in an emergency visit A&E.

Here are some resources to offer further support and advice: