Summary: survey of survivors' mental health needs

Survivors of terror attacks experience a complex interplay between a profound personal trauma and the wider public and political aspects of an attack. Particularly, extensive media coverage and public interest in the aftermath can be very overwhelming for survivors. Studies have shown that terrorist attacks can cause a shift in the survivor’s identity, challenging their world views and creating feelings of disillusionment and angst.

In 2018, SAT, in partnership with Kantar, commissioned a survey of survivors of terror attacks. 271 people responded. Whilst the support of the emergency services, paramedics and police were rated highly, a shocking 76% rated mental health services as requiring improvement with a significant majority rating this as highly needs improving.

In this paper we make specific, evidenced recommendations for improved mental health support for survivors of terror attacks as part of the national response to terrorism. It is important to highlight that survivors includes not only those were present and survived injuries, but also all those who were present both before and after the event and were witnesses, as well as the families and friends of all those affected.