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Garstang mum Annette McNeil praises "fantastic" support services for her and her daughters in aftermath of the Manchester Arena Bombing

Annette McNeil and daughters Caitlin (centre) and Erin (right) were at the Manchester Arena during the attack last year.
Annette McNeil and daughters Caitlin (centre) and Erin (right) were at the Manchester Arena during the attack last year.
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A mum and her two daughters who were at the Manchester Arena when it was the centre of a terrorist attack have praised local victim support and mental health services for their support in its aftermath.

Annette McNeil, from Garstang, attended the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017, with her two daughters Caitlin, 14, and Erin, 11.

And following the traumatic events of the night, which saw 22 innocent people die, Annette and her family received support from Lancashire’s Victim Support services.

Erin also accessed more specialised support from the local NHS Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

Anette said: “What happened was horrific. My daughter Erin was 11 at the time and my daughter Caitlin was 14.

“Thankfully, none of us were physically injured, but the bombing did have a massive effect on us, particularly Erin at such a young age.

“We spoke to the Manchester Resilience Hub a few months after the attack and they were fantastic.

“After completing questionnaires, we were able to determine the type of support we needed to help us with the traumatic events we’d been through. Our answers showed that Caitlin and I needed some support, but Erin would need more specialised therapy.

“I got in touch with Victim Support, which offered counselling through its NEST scheme for Erin whilst we waited to access more specialised therapy from CAMHS.

“The service has been fantastic. They’ve been there every step of the way.”

The McNeil family appeared on BBC documentary ‘Manchester Bomb: Our Story’ last week in which Erin spoke about her trouble with dealing with the trauma of the night.

Erin began to open up about the extent of her symptoms in the Autumn of last year whilst watching an episode of Holby City, that included a PTSD storyline.

“Erin opened up to me that she was experiencing the same symptoms as the characters in the drama,” explained Annette, who works for Lancashire County Council.

“That’s when I realised how difficult she was finding things.

“After the horrific events we’ve been through in the last year, my advice to anyone who’s been affected by this or any other traumatic event would be to get the support you need as quickly as possible.

“My colleagues and managers, friends and family have really helped me and the whole family during this difficult time.”

Visit www.nestlancashire.org for more information about young victim support services in Lancashire.