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Thursday, 10 August 2017

Hundreds of people from Grenfell Tower area referred to mental health services

Written by Jack Hardy

Around 600 people including 100 children from the Grenfell Tower neighbourhood have been referred to mental health services in the aftermath of the fire, new figures show.

The emotional toll of the disaster was uncovered after health professionals visited thousands of people from the area to determine if they needed help from the NHS.

The Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust said the referrals for specialist assessments were also made as a result of GP appointments and calls made to a specialist hotline.

Additionally, The Curve community centre has been operating a walk-in service for those living in the neighbourhood, from which referrals have been made.

Survivors who escaped Grenfell Tower and families left bereaved by the tragedy are among those seeking professional help, it is understood.

It is feared many of those affected by the fire or who witnessed it devastate the 24-storey block in June might have been left traumatised by the night's hellish scenes.

Police believe around 80 people died when Grenfell Tower was engulfed by flames, while hundreds more were displaced from their homes.

A spokesman for the NHS trust, which provides mental health services across parts of the capital, said staff had knocked on 2,200 doors in the west London neighbourhood.

Around 2,000 people have been seen face-to-face by either NHS staff or those working at the walk-in centre, he added.

Survivors were visited in their temporary accommodation, often hotel rooms, by the NHS trust's outreach team.

The child and adolescent mental health services are tasked with handling the scores of referrals for younger people affected by what they saw.

The latest figures came after residents claimed during a heated public meeting on Wednesday night that seeing the blackened shell of the tower every day was causing much distress.

Plans are in place for the remains to be covered by protective wrapping from around mid-August.

Borough fire commander Spencer Sutcliffe told the meeting at Notting Hill Methodist Church that his crews had been "really deeply affected and saddened" by the disaster.

Two months on from the fire, residents used the event to tell key figures in the response team that many of their questions remained unanswered, condemning the rebuilding efforts as "terrible".

The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, Elizabeth Campbell, faced sustained criticism during the session and was heckled as she spoke.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Victoria Jones / PA Wire.