Survivor Sean Gardner launches a new, innovative service aiming to provide free emergency psychological support for victims of mass trauma
The Trauma Response Network, (TRN) created in collaboration with a team of qualified EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) therapists, is a new mental health service that will deliver free emergency psychological support. Launched on 22 May 2018, to mark the one year anniversary since the attack, TRN aims to support NHS services at a time when they are under tremendous pressure.
Chairman and survivor, Sean experienced significant impacts to his own mental health following the 2017 arena attack. Neither suicidal nor deemed at immediate risk, Sean was not offered any immediate treatment in the aftermath of the attack. Through seeking independent advice, he was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and referred for private EMDR therapy.
Sean explained: "I discovered I was not alone. Reports from both the Manchester and London attacks, and the Grenfell Tower disaster show many people are unable to access immediate mental health support, something that made a tangible difference to the pace of my own recovery."
Consisting of a team of professional, qualified therapists specialising in EMDR who commit to giving up their time free of charge to support people affected by mass trauma, the TRN will allow those affected to self-refer themselves online within hours of an event, providing them with a free online psychoeducation session.
One of two treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), EMDR is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a positive treatment for PTSD in adults and children.
Susan Darker-Smith, an EMDR therapist specialising in trauma, says: "The idea of using technology to help people is exciting and innovative. There have been trials of online psychotherapy but nothing on this scale, where those affected by an incident of mass trauma are able to access online support and speak to an accredited EMDR clinician within 24 hours."
Users will receive up to five face-to-face therapy sessions following their initial online session, each delivered free of charge by qualified therapists. TRN hopes these will bridge the gap between the need for early intervention and the ability of existing service providers to offer support to those affected by mass trauma.