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Grenfell Tower: 'Twenty suicide attempts' since fire

From BBC - September 5, 2017

At least 20 survivors and witnesses of the Grenfell Tower fire have attempted suicide, a support network has said.

Silence of Suicide founder Yvette Greenway told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme the number was based on conversations with residents.

Campaign group Justice4Grenfell said those working with survivors had heard of 20 suicide attempts, but the BBC has been unable to verify the figure.

A network of support is available, Kensington and Chelsea Council said.

Deputy leader Kim Taylor-Smith said the council was "committed to supporting those affected by this tragedy".

He said support included proactive work within the community and schools, a 24-hour NHS helpline and emotional support services provided by local community groups along with the Samaritans.

'Alcohol dependency'

Ms Greenway said many residents were unable to get images of the burning tower "out of their minds".

"There is a lot of alcohol and drug dependency," she said. "People are feeling isolated."

Ms Greenway said there was little confidence in "council-led" mental health services.

"We have been told workers are going around putting leaflets under hotel doors and not actually speaking to people," she said.

"There are going to be many more instances of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], depression, anxiety and self-harming as people reach different stages of trauma.

"Everybody will be affected at different times.

"We need long-term mental health provision for the next three decades at least - maybe longer."

Survivor guilt

Judy Bolton, a nurse for 20 years who is now co-ordinating volunteers for Justice4Grenfell, said mental health support services needed to be rethought.

She said rather than waiting for survivors to actively seek help, services should instead "go to them".

Ms Bolton suggested there were multiple factors in why people were attempting suicide, including depression, survivor guilt and feeling unable to cope with the loss of loved ones.

Where to get help

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