Lancashire victims of Manchester bomb say they were left with no support
Ruth Murrell, of Ribble Valley, was at the Ariana Grande concert with her 13-year-old daughter Emily and her best friend Michelle Kiss.
Mother-of-three Michelle, who lived in Whalley, was killed in the attack while Ruth and Emily were both badly injured.
They spent six weeks in the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital after the attack - between them having 10 operations to remove shrapnel from their bodies.
During the bombing, a bolt travelled 15cm through Ruth’s leg while Emily suffered seven shrapnel wounds from flying debris.
Ruth said: "The physical injuries were serious, but the mental side was very much harder to deal with.
"I was told a referral to mental health services would have a waiting time of 9-12 months for an initial appointment. I couldn't cope.
"There was a period when I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat and was vomiting constantly.
"I had to find my own specialists and go private, at Â£85 an hour, to get the support I desperately needed."
Emily also suffered from insomnia and struggled at school.
Ruth has spoken out on the publication of a report from charity Survivors Against Terror, which found that in a nationwide poll of attack survivors, 76 per cent believe the mental health system needs improvement. Of these, three-quarters felt the improvement needed was dramatic.
The research identified a "profound crisis in mental health services", according to Survivors Against Terror, while its chairwoman Charlotte Dixon Sutcliffe said the survey unearthed "shocking" stories that "seem increasingly like the norm".
She added: "Governments promise survivors they will be looked after but this survey shows that when it comes to mental health services they are being routinely let down."
Away from mental health services, the picture was more positive.
Most services were rated by 80 per cent of respondents as good, very good or exceptional.
Three in five (60 per cent) described support from paramedics as very good or exceptional, with a similar percentage (59 per cent) scoring the police in one of the top two brackets.
NHS hospital care was rated as very good or exceptional by an even higher proportion of participants, at 80 per cent.
Four people from Lancashire died when terrorist Salman Abedi detonated a bomb as an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.
They were Saffie Roussos, eight, from Leyland, 18-year-old Georgina Callendar from Tarleton, Michelle Kiss and Blackpool school receptionist Jane Tweddle.