POLITICS

Grenfell Tower: Labour MP David Lammy Fears Mental Health Crisis for Survivors

Survivors are attempting suicide and seeking treatment for PTSD, according to reports.

05/09/2017 20:29

Grenfell survivors face a mental health crisis as they struggle to cope with the enormity of the tragedy, MPs heard. 

Labour MP David Lammy said now the “initial shock” of the blaze was subsiding, the grief had begun to “really kick in” and survivors were talking of “self-medicating”.

It comes amid reports there have been 20 suicide attempts among survivors and news that 220 people have been referred for treatment for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). 

Concerns have also been raised over scant mental health provision for those affected by the lethal North Kensington blaze.

Lammy told MPs: “Many people in the House who have dealt with bereavement will know it’s really about three months later after the initial shock that things really kick in. 

“That was what I heard from the father of my friend that died in Grenfell Tower this week.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters
Grenfell Tower, destroyed in a catastrophic fire

“We hear these reports of suicide attempts and I know people in the community are talking about self-medication. 

“(Communities Secretary Sajid Javid) didn’t include in his statement today anything about health assessments, bereavement counselling and those services to support those people.”

Meanwhile, Yvette Greenway from the charity, Silence of Suicide, told 5 News she is currently working with a woman whose partner took his own life after losing a friend in the fire.

Yvette said: “They don’t have a chance to escape from the horror because the image of Grenfell is there all the time and that’s how it was for this particular gentleman and it was just too horrific for him to cope with.”

PA Wire/PA Images
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid

Central Northwest London NHS Foundation Trust NHS Trust said their outreach teams are going to homes and hotels. In total, 439 people have been referred for specialist mental health treatment.

At least 80 people were killed after a fire at the 24-storey block on June 14, which left hundreds of people homeless.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has admitted the number of Grenfell Tower disaster survivors temporarily or permanently rehoused is “still low”. 

Javid, providing an update to MPs following the summer recess, also called on private sector owners of tower blocks to submit cladding samples for testing.

PA Wire/PA Images
Grenfell survivor Ines Alves celebrates after collecting her GCSE results, at the Sacred Heart school in west London.

MPs also cheered after Javid raised the achievements of Ines Alves, a “remarkable” 16-year-old who escaped the burning Grenfell Tower hours before achieving an A grade in her chemistry GCSE.

Javid said: “Her achievement should be an inspiration to us all.

“If a teenage schoolgirl who has suffered unimaginable trauma can do something so incredible, we in this House have no excuse for failing to do everything possible to support the victims of Grenfell and to ensure that such a tragedy never happens again.” 

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