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Trauma counsellor urges young people to seek help after Cooktown hotel crush deaths


Psychotherapist Joe Coney

Psychotherapist Joe Coney

Psychotherapist Joe Coney

A psychotherapist has appealed to those caught up in the St Patrick's Day disco horror in Cookstown "not to suffer alone".

Joe Coney from Coalisland, who runs JMC Counselling and Training in Dungannon, is among those offering support to those caught up in Sunday night's tragic events at the Greenvale Hotel.

He has urged those young people from Coalisland, Dungannon, Cookstown or surrounding areas who are in need of trauma counselling to seek help.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, Mr Coney explained: "I have been contacted by many parents of those who were at the Greenvale on Sunday night.

"It's really obvious that the young people, their parents and hotel staff have been deeply affected by what happened.

"Many are deeply traumatised by what they saw and will still be very numb.

"Some people may experience trauma while others will be able to cope with it better.

"For those who decide to bottle everything up, that's probably the worst thing that they could do - they need to talk about it."

Mr Coney said those affected may experience a range of emotions in the aftermath of the tragedy.

"At this stage there will be total confusion, but the danger is always that once things settle down over the next day or two, that's really when counselling may be needed to allow them to process events in more depth," he said.

"Once a person suffers this type of trauma, the mind and body is trying to regulate itself.

"A lot of people will think they are going crazy or something is seriously wrong.

"In effect there is something wrong and anyone who has suffered trauma will go through that process.

"Quite often when we explain what is happening to them, it settles them a bit."

The psychotherapist said anyone who feels they need help should ask for it.

"We have a team of 10 counsellors on standby at our Coalisland premises should anyone wish to talk," he said.

"It will be a platform for them to come in and tell their story.

"To any of those who have been affected, I would urge them to please don't suffer this alone and contact us as soon as possible.

"If anyone needs to talk please call 028 8774 6375," Mr Coney said.

Schools and GAA clubs in Cookstown and the surroundings areas have also pledged to support affected members and their families in the days and weeks ahead.

Anyone affected by this story is also being urged to contact Lifeline, the 24-hour crisis helpline on 0808 8088 000, The Samaritans on 116 123 free from any phone (028 9066 4422) or Childline on 0800 1111.

Belfast Telegraph