According to a report released on the sixth anniversary of the attack, nearly a third of the young survivors of the Manchester Arena bombing have not received professional support.
Three-quarters (75 percent) of the children and young people affected by the 2017 terrorist attack were mentally harmed by what happened to them, the report said.
But 29 percent have never received professional support in the past six years, and four in 10 of them say they have never been offered it.
The Bee The Difference report, released on Monday, is a research project developed by and for young survivors of the Arena attack in collaboration with the UK’s National Emergencies Trust and researchers from Lancaster University.
22 people were killed and hundreds injured when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his explosive device in the Manchester Arena foyer at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22, 2017.
More than 200 young survivors, all under the age of 18 at the time of the attack and some of whom were physically injured in the bombing, participated in the research for the report.
The report shows that while 93 percent of young survivors felt they needed support after the attack, 70 percent did not receive professional help within the first month and 31 percent did not receive professional help within the first year.
While some of the professional help offered by teachers, counselors and family doctors was invaluable to survivors, some unintentionally led to even more trauma, research showed.
And some young people felt that their experiences were not validated by adults in care positions and that their feelings and opinions were dismissed because of their age.
One survivor told researchers, “The tutor told me to take the attack as a positive experience – that having that ‘difficulty’ would make me a stronger person.” He said that not many young people experience difficulty these days. That felt totally insensitive, so I didn’t go back.”
The report makes a number of suggestions for individuals and institutions to improve support for young terror survivors.
The UK government is expected to finalize a draft “Charter for Survivors” in the next few weeks, which would guarantee survivors of terrorist attacks important rights and include a guaranteed timetable for mental health support.
dr Cath Hill, senior researcher at Lancaster University, said: “The results show that the simple act of validating young people’s views can make a huge difference to their well-being and that all adults in care positions could be more vigilant if this were the case .” The worst is happening again.”
Mhairi Sharp, head of the National Emergencies Trust, said: “There is a glaring gap in knowledge about how disasters affect children and young people in the UK.”
“Six years after the attack, the results show that almost one in four (22 percent) young Manchester survivors still receive psychological support today.”
The charity’s royal patron, the Prince of Wales, said: “This report makes it clear that young people who have experienced the trauma of terrorism have needs specific to their age.” These are minds that need the space for their Voices are heard and their feelings acknowledged.
“We need to listen to their stories now to learn for the future. I look forward to seeing the change this will bring.”