Healthcare news

Emergency meeting discusses NHS 'support' plans for those affected by Greenvale disco tragedy

An emergency meeting was held yesterday to discuss the NHS response to the Cookstown tragedy
Seanín Graham

SENIOR health professionals from the Northern trust attended an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss its response plan to the Greenvale tragedy.

Hosted by Mid Ulster Council, it brought together a 'myriad' of support services to plan how they could best work together to help those affected by the events of St Patrick's night in Cookstown.

Police and representatives from the Education Authority also attended.

A trust spokesman said they were "acutely aware" of the need for "coordination across all of the services that are providing support to all of those involved".

The head of psychological services along with the trust's director of community care and deputy chief executive were among those who attended the meeting in Cookstown.

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On Monday, a charity providing trauma counselling reported how it had been inundated with calls from "shocked" teenagers.

Parents and some Greenvale staff members also sought face-to-face support from the JMC Counselling and Training and The Mid-Ulster Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy service.

Patsy McGlone, an SDLP Mid Ulster assembly member, said he had witnessed "on the ground" agencies working closely together, led by police, since Sunday night.

"From the schools to the health service to the GAA, there has been a tick-tacking to help all those affected," he said.

"Obviously there is a fear that someone could slip through the net and I would urge the community to keep a close eye on anyone if there appears to be difficulties with their mental health. People need to reach out to each other."

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Meanwhile, the Education Authority (EA) has confirmed its 'critical incident team' has staff working in five schools and has provided support and advice to a further seven schools in the area.

The EA Youth Service has also opened its facilities at Ógras Youth Club, Coalisland, Dungannon Youth Resource Centre and Cookstown Youth Resource Centre in order for young people affected by the tragedy to engage with youth workers.”

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PROFESSIONAL guidance was last night issued by the British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists for those coping with trauma - stressing that it is "completely normal" to experience distress.

Common problems which can occur include -

- difficulty sleeping and bad dreams

- thoughts and memories of what happened popping into your head

- irritability

- feeling sad and worried

"People all react in different ways. It is helpful to be with family and friends and for those who were there to talk about happened if they want to. For some people quiet time can be important," they said.

"Many people find it helpful to return to the normal routines such as returning to school, normal mealtimes, and times for getting up and going to bed.

"While there is no particular treatment that is recommended at this stage, support of family, friends and community will be most helpful in aiding recovery from this tragic event."

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