Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New approach bears dividends after 7/7 attacks

People caught up in attacks by terrorists often suffer from psychological as well as physical trauma yet studies of what happened after events like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings and the 9/11 attacks show that those caught up in them do not always contact their GP or get the help they need. Following the July 2005 attacks in London the U.K.'s Department of Health set up a Trauma Response Programme. They used contact details of people known to have been caught up in the attacks from a variety of sources including the telephone help-line NHS Direct, hospitals, charitable relief funds and the police. People received a letter or a telephone call and a brief two-page questionnaire designed to ascertain mental-health problems. At the same time a media campaign advertised the programme and encouraged individuals to contact it. The programme contacted 910 people of whom 596 filled out the questionnaire. 217 people were adjudged to need treatment and they received either trauma-focused cognitive behaviour therapy or eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). The treatments were found to be very effective and gains made in treatment were maintained one year later.

Brewin, C. R. ... [et al] - Outreach and screening following the 2005 London bombings: usage and outcomes (2010), 40, 2049–2057
Psychological Medicine

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