Leeds & West Yorkshire

Manchester Arena bomb survivor made mindfulness ambassador

Emily Brierley
Image caption Emily Brierley has trained as a meditation teacher and helped lead a workshop for terror attack victims

A teenager who survived the Manchester Arena bombing has been made a youth ambassador for a mindfulness charity.

Emily Brierley, then aged 15, was in the concourse area when Salman Abedi detonated a device in May 2017.

Emily, from Huddersfield, said mindfulness had been "a very vital component" in helping her cope with the trauma of the attack.

The Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) says she is an "inspirational role model" for other youngsters.

Emily, who suffered psychological trauma but no physical injuries, said mindfulness and meditation had changed her life and helped her to "move forward".

"I remember a very distinct thought of 'I am going to die' and I was certain," she said of the bomb attack.

"It's very difficult to put into words because it's so far removed from any other feeling that you experience.

"It's not something that you get over and it's not something that necessarily gets easier, it just gets different.

"Now, if I hear loud bangs, alarms, sirens, certain music or other things that could trigger difficult emotions, I can be mindful of that and prevent those feelings from progressing," she said.

Image copyright Various
Image caption Twenty-two people were killed in the blast at an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017

The sixth-form student discovered mindfulness aged 13 when she was suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.

Emily said she wanted to become a therapist to help others suffering from trauma, mental health and stress.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about paying more attention to the present moment, to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you, and it can help improve mental wellbeing, according to the NHS.

Mindfulness is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence as a way to prevent depression in people who have had three or more bouts in the past.

Chivonne Preston, CEO of MiSP, said: "Emily is such an inspirational role model because she's taken what she's learned and applied it when she's most needed it.

"And more than that, she wants to share that with other young people as well.

"So we're really proud and privileged to have her as our youth ambassador."

MiSP is a national charity aimed at helping children and young people with their mental wellbeing.

Follow BBC Yorkshire on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites