Advice for those affected by the Manchester attack

CAMHS Becton Centre
24 May 2017

We realise Manchester is not that far away from Sheffield and some South Yorkshire families may have been caught up in some way in the unfortunate Manchester attack that happened on the evening of 22 May 2017.

Perhaps you or your child attended the concert, or were near the area when it happened, or know someone who was there?

Professionals may also be wondering how to support young people and families affected by the event.

Early days after the event

After witnessing, or hearing about a very frightening event a child, young person or adult may well have symptoms such as:

  • distress
  • poor sleep
  • nightmares
  • feeling unsafe
  • intrusive thoughts or images
  • avoiding things related to the traumatic event
  • problems at school or work etc.

However, these reactions are normal, and a natural process of trying to make sense of and understand what has happened. It’s also normal to be upset or angry or confused after a traumatic event.

What will help?

Usually a period of ‘watchful waiting’ after a frightening event is recommended for up to one month, especially where symptoms are mild to moderate, and for younger children. Many symptoms typically subside within a month, and children recover fully and regain confidence. A child being reassured by their parent, keeping normal routines, feeling safe, will help.

Some children may wish to talk or draw about what happened and that is OK, but they shouldn’t be forced to talk about it, and ‘single-session debriefing’ after a disaster is not recommended.

If symptoms persist longer than one month, or if symptoms seem severe or there are particular concerns about an older child/young person, then it may be a good idea to arrange an appointment with your GP for whoever is experiencing the symptoms. The GP can then discuss the symptoms in more detail, and refer a child or adult onto mental health services or other services if appropriate.

You may find the following links to information helpful:

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