Trauma: It does not occur in isolation to the community of a traumatised individual

We now take a break from Anne Marie McKinley’s (a Midwife and Birth Trauma Specialist at Afterthoughts NI) mini series (focusing on the various aspects of birth trauma) by delving into the whys and wherefores around history and developments in this sixth part.


In 1992, Judith Lewis Herman published her book Trauma and Recovery. “The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.” 1

I live in Northern Ireland, born in the South. In 1998, I was in Stormont, waiting with family and friends for the signing of The Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement because it was reached on Good Friday, 10 April 1998) and I remember my 3-year-old daughter escaping under the barrier to greet the politicians. There were stark predictions, by academics after the agreement was signed, of concern for the mental health of the next generation in Northern Ireland. In 2016, The Mental Health Foundation reported that Northern Ireland had a 25% higher overall prevalence of mental health problems than England. Previous to this, in 2014/15, according to the Northern Ireland Health Survey, 19% of individuals showed signs of a possible mental health problem. More women (20%) than men (16%) reported signs of mental health problems.2 [Read more…]

How Learning to Talk About My Mental Health Gave Me Wealth

A lovely piece from Charlotte Underwood who needs little introduction. As a mental health advocate, raising awareness about suicide and mental health issues, Charlotte shares her thoughts on the importance of talking.


As a sufferer of mental illness for as long as I can remember, I’ve built up quite the onion of layers. I spent so many years not feeling able to talk about my feelings and perhaps not understanding what mental health was. So, what came as symptoms of distress as a child, turned into an adulthood with much more complicated and worsened mental health. [Read more…]