Conflict, peace and mental health

Addressing the consequences of conflict and trauma in Northern Ireland

By David Bolton

Conflict, peace and mental health
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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9099-8
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: RRP £80.00, NOW £16.00
  • Published Date: June 2017
  • BIC Category: Northern Ireland, Religious Intolerance, Persecution & Conflict, Armed Conflict, Reference, information & interdisciplinary subjects / Peace studies & conflict resolution, Psychology, Social, Group Or Collective Psychology, Religious intolerance, persecution & conflict, Psychology, Irish History, PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology, PSYCHOLOGY / General, PSYCHOLOGY / Psychopathology / Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), RELIGION / Religious Intolerance, Persecution & Conflict, HISTORY / Europe / Ireland, Trauma & Shock, Social, group or collective psychology, Peace studies & conflict resolution, Ireland, European history, PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health


What are the human consequences of conflict and what are the appropriate service responses? This book seeks to provide an answer to these important questions, drawing on over twenty-five years of work by the author in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Focusing 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 bombing and later the wider population affected by the years of conflict. The author places the mental-health needs of affected communities at the heart of the political and peace processes that follow. 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, civil servants and peace makers.


The author writes from the heart, with the experience of a highly respected practitioner and researcher, and with a very personal yet professional relationship with victims and survivors.
Rev. Harold Good, Former President of the Methodist Church in Ireland and witness to the decommissioning of the IRA and ETA weaponry.

This is a magnificent contribution not just to the British/Irish troubles but to every region and every country where the agony and horror of violence has penetrated and mangled the human spirit.
Denis Bradley, Co-Chair Consultative Group on the Past

This is a book full of civility, humanism and evidence in relation to the psychological consequences of societal violence.
Brendan Bunting, Professor of Psychology, Ulster University

David Bolton writes with insight in this admirable book. I have rarely encountered an individual so committed and dedicated to making the ragged edges of peace less painful.
David McKittrick, co-author of Lost Lives, the compilation of Troubles related deaths in Northern Ireland.

David Bolton brings over 30 years of field experience in Northern Ireland to this book through which he shares his insights of conflict-related trauma and recovery, supported with empirical research evidence, with all humanitarians working in conflicted societies.
Fergus Cooper OBE, Former Save the Children Head of Country, in Northern Ireland

'If there is one book that should be required reading for our MLAs, it is [this]. The book is a timely reminder that while the Assembly remains suspended and political progress remains stalled, victims and survivors of violence continue to live with the consequences of the past.The book is also designed to appeal to an international audience. There is much to be learned and applied from the examples of good practice developed in the aftermath of Omagh and in the research/evidence-based approach of the partnership between NICTT and Ulster University.I am heartened that people in other parts of the world may learn from those who have suffered in Northern Ireland. But I hope that the learning in Northern Ireland itself has not stopped, and that our politicians and policy makers heed Bolton's message about what remains to be done.'
Gladys Ganiel, Slugger O'toole, October 2017

'What prompted Bolton to write the book was the conflict in Syria and, before that, in Iraq. He hopes it will be of use to counsellors and psychiatrists and psychotherapists and anyone trying to deal with the traumatic impact of conflict.'
Gerry Moriarty, Irish Times, August 2017

'This is a timely book to remind us what happens when we don'tnourish peace or build public infrastructures to ensure that violence andinjustice cannot succeed. It is timely not only because of recent events inNorthern Ireland that might evoke divisions from the past, but also because ofrecent events in London and Manchester, hate crime, and the shortcomings ofdemocratic voting- not to mention also the importance of looking now at theintergenerational problems that await the people in Syria and other Middle EastCountries.'
Dr Derek Indoe Consultant Clinical and Forensic Psychologist,British Journal of Psychology


David Bolton is a trauma researcher, writer and practitioner


1 The Omagh bombing and the community's response
2 The Omagh Community Trauma and Recovery Team
3 Assessing the mental-health impact of the Omagh bombing
4 The mental-health impact of the Troubles, 1969-99
5 The mental-health impact of the Troubles, 2000-15
6 The Northern Ireland Centre for Trauma and Transformation: a comprehensive trauma centre
7 The development of a trauma-focused therapy programme
8 Trauma-focused skills training for practitioners
9 Research, advocacy and policy support
10 Planning for and responding to the mental health impact of conflict
Post script: the rupture of loss and trauma

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