Mental wellbeing advice following the Manchester Arena attack

This guidance is aimed at anyone exposed to the Manchester Arena attack which took place on 22 May 2017. The emotional effects will be felt by survivors, bereaved families, friends, emergency services, healthcare 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 care of victims.

The NHS website

Mental health clinicians have created a page titled Help and support after a traumatic event which has useful resources for teachers, parents, employers carers and others feeling affected by the events in Manchester

The page was developed with colleagues in Manchester but also by the national mental health team including the National Clinical Director for mental health and the Associated Clinical Director for Child and Adolecent Mental Health Services.


A Video  has also been produced to summarise advice and support.

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
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, 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.

 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 event.

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 them 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 seek help:

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 being able to enjoy life at all

You can access help by:

  • Speaking to your local GP
  • Accessing Cumbria's NHS First Step service (adults only)  by telephoning 0300 123 9122 within office hours
  • Young Minds Parents Helpline –offer free, confidential online and telephone support, including information and advice to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25. Lines are open Lines are open 9.30am to 4.00pm, Monday to Friday 0808 802 5544 (free for mobiles and landlines). 
  • YoungMinds website also has a range of support and guidance for parents who maybe worried about their child. This can be accessed at  -
  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Calm (Campaign Against Living Miserably) - offering support to men in the UK, of any age, who are down or in crisis via helpline and website. The Helpline is open 5:00pm–midnight, 365 days a year 0800 58 58 58, 
  • National Mind Infoline Call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463  
  • CRUSE Bereavement Care – offers support after the death of someone close
  • Call 0844 477 9400   
  • Disaster Action - website provides resources and information for the bereaved and survivors of major disasters
  • Victim Support - helping people cope with the effects of crime 0845 3030900