UCL News


UCL in the News: 255 survivors of July 7 attacks treated for stress

14 January 2008

Judith Duffy, 'Sunday Herald' A pioneering mental health screening programme set up in the wake of the London bombings has treated more than 200 people for problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The majority - 71% - were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, with other problems including travel phobia, anxiety disorder and major depression.

Chris Brewin, professor of clinical psychology at UCL, said the aim had been to identify the group of people who needed extra assistance to help them recover from the trauma of the incident. …

One difficulty, Brewin pointed out, was that people often did not know what a "normal response" was to such incidents. He said: "These reactions people get - when they let memories come into the mind and get very jumpy and upset - are perfectly normal reactions and usually get better of their own accord."

Survivor lists provided by hospitals, for example, were also used to contact people by telephone or letter. A questionnaire was used to evaluate symptoms, which resulted in some individuals being invited for a detailed assessment. …

The study, which will be published next month in the Journal Of Traumatic Stress, shows that of the 370 people who attended this assessment, 255 (69%) were referred for specialist treatment such as cognitive behavioural therapy, with the remainder judged as requiring monitoring only.

Although a detailed evaluation of the project is currently taking place, Brewin said the initial "snapshot" results had been promising.

"We were able to identify people who did have significant problems and get them in treatment and so far there is a good recovery rate," he said.

"We are doing a much more systematic evaluation at the moment, which will see if people not only get better after treatment but if they actually stay well six months later and how cost-effective this approach is." …