1992 Manchester bomb survivor says victims need help now
Victims of the Manchester bomb massacre must get immediate therapy or risk a lifetime scarred by post-traumatic stress disorder, one of the worst-injured survivors of the IRA's 1992 bomb attack on the city has warned.
Neil Tattersall said he has been "deeply disturbed" since jihadi-trained terrorist Salman Abedi (22) killed 22 innocent people and maimed 64 others at the Manchester Arena on Monday.
He has friends who survived the carnage, including a mother who had taken her son to see Ariana Grande at the arena.
And the 47-year-old father said he knows survivors of the attack won't yet be feeling the full psychological effects of living through the trauma.
Neil, who ended up homeless and in despair after suffering life-changing injuries and depression following the IRA's 1992 Manchester outrage, said: "What's concerning me now is that I can see people who survived the attack need psychological help now.
"I'm seeing people being interviewed on the news who I can see from my experiences need counselling and help now.
"I saw one lad being interviewed on TV who survived the bomb and it was so obvious he was a mess. I think it's outrageous they are being allowed to go home without treatment.
"The guy I saw who needed help said in the interview he was going to see a doctor when he could. But I just thought, 'That's you in for a mess - you need help now'."
Neil is offering his help in counselling victims, and said about having friends who survived Monday's bloodbath: "The first I heard about it was when a mother I know posted about the attack. I messaged back saying I hoped she was ok and that I was hoping she got out safely. Thank God they did. It was like the 1992 attack was happening to me again when I heard."
Neil still takes a strong cocktail of painkillers for the crippling injuries he suffered when the IRA detonated two bombs in Manchester. But there is no fix for the effects of his mental trauma. Neil, who was eventually helped by Innocent Victims United in Northern Ireland, said: "I received terrible counselling after the 1992 bomb. When I first went to a counsellor, they asked me the ridiculous question: 'Are you in the IRA?'
He added: "What survivors of the Manchester bomb need is to sit with someone who has been through what I have.
"I find it incredibly patronising when members of the health profession say things like, 'I understand what you are going through', when they don't.
"When you've been through something like that you need to sit with someone who can say 'I understand what you've been through', and know they really do. It's huge when that happens."