Simon Wessely - Other Interests

Other Interests

Wessely also has a long standing interest in how normal people react to adversity, and what, if any, responses are appropriate. He was a co-author of an influential Cochrane Review showing that the conventional response – to offer people who have been involved in disaster immediate psychological debriefing – was not only ineffective, but possibly did more harm than good. Since then he has published on civilian reactions to the Blitz, and latterly an early study of reactions to the July 7, 2005 London bombings, the Litvenko affair. and swine flu.

In many venues, he has argued that people are more resilient than we give them credit for, and that the best thing we can do in the immediate aftermath of trauma is to offer practical support and encourage people to turn to their own social networks, such as family, friends, colleagues or family doctor. However, after a few months, when most distress has reduced, then for the minority who are still psychologically distressed or disabled it is appropriate to offer evidence-based psychological interventions.

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