21/09/2017 - Published by

The Survivors Assistance Network provides free, practical and emotional support to anyone who’s been affected by a terrorist incident.  One week on from the Manchester attack, the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace is reminding people of the support available and issuing guidance to professionals

The network provides specialist support for all those in the UK affected by terrorist attacks at home or overseas, including witnesses and family members.  All support is FREE.

Support is available on the phone, via e-mail, on social media and in person. We will listen to you, assess your needs and make sure you have the support you require.

We provide tailored, confidential, personalised assistance plans for those affected soon after a terrorist incident has occurred, we help to address longer term needs and support a sense of personal safety and well-being.

Victims will also be able to participate in supportive group activity and remembrance events to help them rebuild their lives.

More information is available on this website www.survivorsassistancenetwork.org

How to get in touch
Email | SAN@foundation4peace.org
Telephone | 01925 581 240
Twitter | @survivors4P

The Survivors Assistance Network can also connect you to our colleagues at Victim Support, a national independent charity that provides emotional and practical support for anyone affected by the attack and operates a 24/7 support line for anyone affected by the attack. The National Homicide Service provides emotional, practical and specialist support to families bereaved by murder or manslaughter, including where this has occurred as an act of terrorism. You can contact the National Homicide Service directly or be referred by a police family liaison officer, if appropriate

Anyone who has been directly affected by this incident can find out about applying for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).  Again, the Survivors Assistance Network will connect you to the right people.

Children and young people were particularly affected by this attack and we are issuing guidance to schools and colleges.  In our notes below, we set out guidance

One Week On – Manchester Attack – brief tips about self-care and help

This is an information sheet for anyone exposed to the Manchester attack that took place on 22 May 2017.   The emotional effects will be felt by survivors, bereaved families, friends, rescue workers, health care workers, and the general public. If you witnessed or lost someone in the attack, you will most certainly have a strong reaction. Reactions are likely to be strongest in those closest to the incident, who directly witnessed the aftermath, and who were involved in the immediate rescue and care of victims and survivors.

Common reactions to traumatic events

The following responses are normal and to be expected in the first few weeks:

  • Emotional reactions such as feeling afraid, sad, horrified, helpless, overwhelmed, angry, confused, numb or disorientated.
  • Distressing thoughts and images that just pop into your head.
  • Disturbed sleep or insomnia.
  • Feeling anxious or low mood.

These responses are a normal part of recovery and are the mind’s mechanisms of trying to make sense and come to terms with what happened. They should subside over time.

What can people do to cope?

  • The most helpful way of coping with an event like this is to be with people you feel close to and normally spend time with.
  • If it helps, talk to someone you feel comfortable with (friends, family, work colleagues) about how you are feeling.
  • 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 grieve and cry if you need to. Letting feelings out is helpful in the long run.
  • Ask for emotional and practical support from friends, family members, your community or religious centre.
  • 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.
  • Try to spend some time doing something that feels good and that you enjoy.
  • Be understanding about yourself.

How can children be helped to cope?

  • Let them know that you understand their feelings.
  • Give them the opportunity to talk, if, and when they want to.
  • Respect their pace.
  • Reassure them that they are safe.
  • Keep to usual routines.
  • Keep them from seeing too much of the frightening pictures of the events, for example, on the news or social media feeds.

When should a person seek more help?

In the early stages, psychological professional help is not usually necessary or recommended. Many people recover naturally from these events.  However, some people may need additional support to help cope.  For example, young children, people who have had other traumatic events happen to them and people with previous mental health difficulties may be more vulnerable.

If about a month after the event anyone is still experiencing the following difficulties, it is a good idea to visit their GP or your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service (Contact information is available on the Internet) for advice:

  • Feeling upset and fearful most of the time.
  • Acting very differently to before the trauma.
  • Not being able to work or look after the home and family.
  • Having deteriorating relationship difficulties.
  • Using drugs or drinking too much.
  • Feeling very jumpy.
  • Still not being able to stop thinking about the incidents.
  • Still not be able to enjoy life at all.

One Week on – What kind of help is available?

Psychological interventions for trauma can vary but generally, their aim is to enable people to improve coping and address difficult feelings.  Medications are not the first line of treatment but can at times be recommended and be helpful in treating some symptoms.

To find out more about the work of the Foundation log onto www.foundation4peace.org – clinically informed views in this release are provided by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and our clinical adviser Nikki Lester.  For more information on the support available consult https://www.gov.uk/guidance/manchester-attack-may-2017-support-for-people-affected

© 2017 The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation, the charity that works nationally and internationally to promote peace and non-violent conflict resolution.