What are the human consequences of conflict and what are the appropriate service responses? This new book, by David Bolton, seeks to provide an answer to these important questions drawing upon over 25 years work by the author in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Focussing on the work undertaken following the Omagh bombing the book describes how needs were assessed and understood, how evidence-based services were put in place and the training and education programmes that were developed to assist first those communities affected by the Omagh bombing and later the wider population affected by the years of conflict. The author places the mental health needs of conflict-affected communities at the heart of the political and peace processes that follow when conflicts end. This is a practical book and will be of particular interest to those planning for and responding to conflict-related disasters, policy makers, service commissioners and providers, politicians, diplomats, civil servants and peace makers. It also includes an extensive overview of the efforts to understand the mental health impact of the years of violence in Northern Ireland, addressing for example, why it seemed to take so long to recognise the impact, and the challenges of undertaking research in a community that is in violent conflict.
David Bolton lives in Northern Ireland and has been involved for over 30 years in developing community based therapeutic services for communities affected by the conflict in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, in undertaking research into the population impact of conflict and in supporting policy development for communities affected by violence.
The author is grateful to the former Trustees of the Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation for their encouragement and support in writing this book.