The NHS has launched a dedicated mental health service to help people affected by the Manchester Arena attack on 22 May 2017.
Called the Manchester Resilience Hub, the service is focused on helping people directly affected by the incident including concert goers, immediate family members and also emergency responders.
“We have already started to make contact with people who have been identified as needing additional support”
The hub, hosted by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, is staffed by mental health professionals with experience of helping people who have experienced trauma.
The team includes clinical leads for adults and children/young people, senior mental health practitioners and psychological therapists, pathway managers and a support team.
They will be able to give advice about what reactions are normal, whether people would benefit from more targeted support and help people access the services they need, said the trust.
The service model has been developed by representatives from across child, adolescent and adult mental health services within Greater Manchester and nationally.
The hub works by providing a central point for mental health advice and support and will work with other agencies from different sectors across the country to develop packages of care.
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It is open to people across the UK, as many people attending the concert were from Manchester and beyond, noted the trust.
Dr Alan Barrett, a consultant clinical psychologist and adult clinical lead for the hub, said: “If by now people are still struggling to cope, they may benefit from some professional mental health support.
“We have already started to make contact with people who have been identified as needing additional support and are taking action depending on what they need,” he said.
“As would be expected for an incident such as this, some people are experiencing high levels of distress, so we are working very closely with them,” said Dr Barrett.
“Now the summer holidays are here, we need to make sure they still know that help and support is available”
Sara Barnes, the hub’s operational lead for children and young people, added: “Over time, the majority of children and young people will be back in normal routines and coping better.
“Since the attack happened, we have been working closely with NHS colleagues, schools and councils to identify any families who may be struggling,” she said. “Now the summer holidays are here, we need to make sure they still know that help and support is available.”
As well as outreaching to people thought to be most in need, the hub will invite all people who have been affected to take part in an emotional wellbeing screening programme, said the trust.
Dr Barrett said: “We are also planning to invite people who were involved in the incident to complete a wellbeing questionnaire at three, six, nine and 12 month milestones. We want to keep checking in to make sure people are ok or are getting any help they need.”