Advice and Support following Manchester Arena incident

Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by the tragic events in Manchester on 22 May 2017. 

Our priority remains offering service users, carers, staff and everyone else who has been affected the care and support needed, especially at this difficult and challenging time.  As a mental health community, we stand together with in feeling shocked and saddened, but we are also here to help as much as we can. 

We are proud to be part of an NHS which responds with speed and courage in such tragic circumstances.  As a Trust, we responded during the night to offer help to emergency staff and we continue to support the ongoing efforts to look after those affected.

Below is some advice and support that can be applied to help people deal with their mental wellbeing at this traumatic time.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority has issued a statement and further advice, which can be read HERE.

Manchester Arena - graphic 1

Manchester Arena

Advice for parents, children and young people

We recognise that many children and young people and parents/carers supporting children and young people will be shocked and saddened by what took place. Children and young people in particular may have questions and it can be difficult to know what to say.

There are approaches that support children and young people through this time more effectively which include:

  • Let them know that you understand their feelings.
  • Listen to children, and give them the opportunity to talk if and when they want to.
  • Do not encourage them to relive their experience. Evidence shows this leads to worse outcomes and is different from allowing people to talk spontaneously about their experience.
  • Be consistent and reassuring.
  • Continue to keep routines and normal daily activities.
  • Keep in touch with school/college about supporting a consistent approach.
  • Keep them from seeing too much of the frightening pictures of the event.

Here are some guidelines on how you can respond to children and young people. We have included some links for more detailed guidance for children, young people parents/carers and professionals. Many young people do not go onto develop mental health conditions and recover naturally, however, if symptoms are severe or continue beyond 2- 4 weeks further specialist mental health advice and support can be accessed via your GP or schools/colleges.

Advice if you're upset or made anxious by the news:

  • BBC Newsround - appropriate for children and young people primary school age and upwards.
  • The Mix - appropriate for older young people 13-25 years).

Coping after a traumatic event

Supporting children after a frightening event: for parents/carers/professionals

Talking about terrorism - tips for parents

Manchester Arena - graphic 3

Manchester Arena

Information for adults affected

Some people may be in a position where you are having to manage not only your own concerns but also trying to answer questions or support children and young people. Additionally, there is the possibility of triggering other traumatic life events that you may have experienced throughout your life.

It is common to experience a range of symptoms when exposed to significant trauma such as the incident in Manchester on May 22. Those symptoms can 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

What is important is to recognise that these are normal responses to making sense of traumatic events and whilst they can be incredibly distressing, many of these symptoms will reduce over time. Support from family and friends can be powerful solutions to managing these difficult but normal experiences.

Some things that might help include:

  • If it helps, talk to someone you feel comfortable with (friends, family, co-workers) 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.

Many people go on to recover but some people may require additional help and if symptoms persist beyond two to four weeks then it is worth seeking further advice.

Additional information can be found here:

Manchester Arena - graphic 2

Manchester Arena

Information for GPs and community services

The emotional effects will be felt by survivors, bereaved families, friends, rescue workers, health care workers, and our diverse communities. Distress is very common. It is likely to be strongest in those closest to the incidents, who directly witnessed the aftermath, and who were involved in rescuing and caring for victims and survivors.

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

  • Emotional experiences (shock and numbness, fear and anxiety, helplessness and hopelessness, irritability, reduced confidence and self-esteem, fear of recurrence, guilt)
  • Social experiences (regression, withdrawal, interpersonal conflict and avoidance)
  • Cognitive experiences (distressing thoughts and images, impaired memory and concentration, confusion and disorientation, hypervigilance)
  • Physical experiences (poor sleep, headaches, somatic symptoms, reduced appetite and energy)
  • Commonly distress should subside over time. In the early stages, psychological  professional help is not usually necessary or recommended. Many people recover naturally from these events.

Please provide children, young people and adults who have been affected or are at risk of being affected with advice and information from the web links attached on this briefing paper or through the government website.

Some people may need additional support to help them cope. For example, young children, people who have experienced other traumatic events happen including secondary additional stresses and people with previous mental health difficulties may be more vulnerable and would benefit from additional support and monitoring.

For most, symptoms will start to resolve after two weeks. If symptoms persist beyond this time, additional monitoring should be provided. If symptoms continue after four weeks, or are severe, further specialist mental health advice should be sought (please see contact information regarding local specialist mental health services at the end of this document.) Further detailed guidance will follow.

Information for Education settings (including independent, academies, faith schools, universities)
Education settings are key support and communication networks for children and young people and their families following traumatic events such as this. It is the role of the senior management teams within education settings to disseminate information and guidance to ALL staff.  Please see attached guidance to assist educational staff in responding and supporting students.

Manchester Arena - graphic 4

Manchester Arena

Useful contact numbers etc

To access Adult Mental Health Services, please contact the numbers below, depending on the area you live in:

Bolton 01204 483101

Salford 0161 358 2424

Trafford 0161 495 9096.

Manchester 0161 882 2499

There is also an NHS Choices page created by mental health clinicians. It has useful resources for Teachers, parents, employers carers and others feeling affected by the events in Manchester. Click HERE to visit

Useful links:

Greater Manchester Police
Twitter: @GMPolice
Emergency information number (for those seeking information about loved ones): 0800 096 0095

Transport for Greater Manchester
Twitter: @OfficialTFGM

North West Ambulance Service 
Twitter: @NWAbulance

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
Twitter: @Manchesterfire

Greater Manchester Victims' Services

For travel updates - please click HERE.