Belfast Telegraph

Research to probe Troubles trauma

Victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland suffer high incidence levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, research has found.

The evidence from previous studies has sparked a deeper investigation of the extent of the problem.

The new research should be completed within months and will help shape the new Victims and Survivors Service due to begin work next April.

Staff from the Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Ulster's Magee campus, the Commission for Victims and Survivors, and the Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health have designed the new study.

"This will provide significant new information about experiences of traumatic events and the level of mental health problems among members of the public who have been adversely affected by the Troubles," said senior psychology lecturer Dr Siobhan O'Neill.

She said the research will help identify the best way to meet the psychological and physical needs of victims and survivors.

"The research will also provide more information about their experiences of getting mental health-related services, including the impact of delays in receiving treatment," said Dr O'Neill.

Victims commissioner Patricia MacBride said: "This is a significant study which will directly input into the Commission's ongoing Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) for victims and survivors.

"The CNA Interim Phase 1 Report published by the Commission last October concluded that health and wellbeing was the priority area in terms of meeting the psychological and physical needs of victims and survivors."

David Bolton, of the Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation, welcomed the plans. "The research provides a valuable opportunity to extend our knowledge of the needs of people who have suffered mental health problems as a result of the years of violence, and will support the development of much needed services for the community," he said.

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