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Thursday, 11 October, 2001, 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK
Omagh centre to help terror victims
Attacks brought back traumatic memories in Omagh
Attacks brought back traumatic memories in Omagh
Trauma workers who helped victims and relatives of the 1998 Omagh bomb atrocity are to travel to New York to train people helping those bereaved and injured in the World Trade Center attacks.

Staff of the Omagh Trauma Centre will travel to the city after Christmas to lend their experience.

The centre was established by Sperrin Lakeland Health and Social Services Trust shortly after 29 people were murdered in a bomb attack carried out by the Real IRA in August 1998.

Among those killed in the County Tyrone attack was a woman pregnant with twins.

The trauma centre's head, Dr Michael Duffy, said that the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September had brought back traumatic memories for Omagh victims.

Omagh scene
Trauma: The Omagh bomb
"We have had people referred for the first time who were holding themselves together, but for them the New York incident was the final straw," he said.

Dr Duffy said he and his colleagues had been asked to travel to America to provide training by a professor of psychology at New Jersey University.


He said that services in New York could be overwhelmed unless time was taken to train staff and set up easily accessible facilities for victims suffering from post traumatic stress.

"We have conveyed an important principle that you shouldn't rush in with psychological treatments in the immediate aftermath," he said.

"For the first four to six weeks, you must provide practical support, a sympathetic ear and mobilise normal support systems within the community.

"Afterwards, the key part of the treatment is talking people through their story, vividly reliving it in sessions which are very painful but necessary to help them through it."

Dr Duffy said he had already e-mailed material to New York which he thought would be helpful.

See also:

15 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Living with the aftermath of Omagh
15 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Omagh bomb victims remembered
15 Aug 00 | Northern Ireland
Ongoing pain of Omagh victims
21 Dec 98 | Health
2.3m to treat Omagh trauma
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