Coping after a traumatic event
If you are worried about your emotional or mental health, or that of someone else, as a result of the attack, there are things you can do that might help
- Take time out to get sufficient sleep (your normal amount), rest and relax, and eat regularly and healthily.
- Tell people what you need. Talk to people you trust. You don’t have to tell everyone everything but telling nobody anything is often unhelpful.
- Take care at home or when driving or riding – accidents are more common after a traumatic or stressful event.
- Try to reduce outside demands on you and don’t take on extra responsibilities for the time being.
- Make time to go to a place where you feel safe and calmly go over what happened in your mind. Don’t force yourself to do this if the feelings are too strong at the moment
- Bottle up these feelings. Think whether it would be helpful to talk about them with somebody you trust. The memories may not disappear straight away.
- Get embarrassed by your feelings and thoughts, or those of others. They are normal reactions to a very stressful event.
- Avoid people you trust
You may also find the NHS trauma leaflet helpful. It outlines common reactions and simple suggestions for how to cope. It outlines longer term reactions following traumatic experiences, and how to get help if you are still worried about yourself or someone else.
The Manchester Resilience Hub is an enhanced NHS mental health service set up to specifically help people who have been affected by the Manchester Arena attack.
You can contact the hub if you
- have been directly affected by the incident
- have a family member who was affected
- were working at the Arena that night, either as staff, at the station, or an emergency responder.
The NHS can help out in many ways, you and your family can
- get help, advice and support from your GP
- adults can refer themselves directly to NHS psychological therapies services across England.
See the NHS advice leaflet about coping with stress following a major incident
Building resilience to terrorism
When terrorist events occur, it is common to feel anxious and concerned about the future. There are some helpful tips produced by the American Psychological Association on building resilience to manage indirect exposure to terrorism
Although aimed at an American audience the tips they suggest to build resilience — the ability to adapt well to unexpected changes and events — can help people manage distress and uncertainty, particularly after experiencing a traumatic event. Many of the suggestions they offer are essential ingredients for a healthy lifestyle, and adopting them can improve your overall emotional and physical well-being.
Helping children cope with a disaster of traumatic event
Seeing repeated images of a disaster in the media can intensify people’s distress. Early on, consider limiting the amount of exposure you want for yourself and your loved ones. The American Red Cross and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have produced this helpful guidance on helping children cope during and after disasters.