MANCHESTER Bombing victims left traumatised and suicidal have been left in the cold and are still not getting counselling due to Tory cuts.
Victims as young as 10 were referred to mental health services with nightmares, PTSD and depression after the attack in May last year according to The Sunday People.
Angry parents have hit out after a backlog which has left hundreds still waiting for treatment – TEN months on from the bombing that killed 22 at the Manchester Arena.
The NHS set up its Manchester Resilience Hub in response to the attack to provide support and coordinate mental and emotional care.
Youngsters who were assessed as needing counselling were referred to the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
The specialist CAMHS teams include support workers, nurses, therapists and psychologists.
But lack of funding from the Government has left the service so badly overstretched it is unable to cope with the demand.
Joanne Petty’s daughter Emily, 12, was among the 14,000 youngsters and parents leaving the gig when Salman Abedi blew himself up with a shrapnel-packed rucksack in the foyer.
She has been suffering with PTSD – or post-traumatic stress disorder – ever since. Joanne said: “We feel let down. I feel like a lot of people have been forgotten about.
“There are the people who have died, the people who have been injured – but it seems all the others who were there who have issues have been brushed under the carpet.”
Emily, from Darlington, Co Durham, finally had her first appointment with CAMHS this week.
But others have not been so lucky.
Karen Orchard’s daughter, also called Emily, is still waiting to be seen for her PTSD, despite revealing to doctors that she felt suicidal.
Emily, 15 at the time of the attack, has autism and has suffered from crippling depression ever since.
Mum Karen, from High Peak, Derbys, said: “After the first month anniversary she told me, ‘I can’t trust myself not to kill myself.’
“If she hadn’t had the confidence to tell me her feelings she could have quite easily tried something. But CAMHS had never seen her.
“I know of children as young as 12 still waiting for an appointment. Emily was depressed before but this had heightened it. She was like, ‘What’s the point in being in the world?’”
Emily had been about to walk through the foyer doors when the bomb exploded. She was shielded by people in front who took the force of the blast, suffering horrific injuries. And she has since been admitted twice to A&E after telling Karen, 43, she wanted to die. Emily said: “I feel all we’ve got is sympathy, but not help.
“Constantly being told you’ve got anxiety and to do something – but do what? I can’t even get myself out of bed in the morning.”
It was revealed this month that GPs have been advising youngsters to exaggerate their mental health problems to make sure they got an appointment with CAMHS – with nearly a quarter of children being turned away after being referred by concerned parents, GPs and teachers.
More than 2,500 children with mental health issues in Britain are currently waiting for an appointment with CAMHS. And 351 of those have been waiting more than a year.
The Government pledged an extra £1.4billion in 2015 to “transform” CAMHS over five years.
But research undertaken by children’s charity YoungMinds shows this money is being used to plug other parts of the health service which have been cut. Funding for the NHS is not rising with inflation, leaving vast areas dangerously overstretched.
The Department of Health and Social Care said: “The attack was aimed at innocent children who now deserve the best support.
“The Department and NHS England has committed £2.6million for Greater Manchester mental health support following the bombing.
“Across the country, more young people than ever can access care.”