The Grenfell Tower disaster has devastatingly affected survivors, local residents and the families of victims, the government's response panel has been told.
The Grenfell Tower disaster has devastatingly affected survivors, local residents and the families of victims, the government's response panel has been told. FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

Mental health is Grenfell fire's latest casualty

LONDON'S Kensington and Chelsea Council has been urged to invest more in mental health services after a reported spike in suicide attempts following the Grenfell Tower fire.

At least 20 people had tried to take their lives in north Kensington since the June 14 blaze, Sikh leader Bhupinder Singh said at a public meeting chaired by the government's response team.

One attempt at the week- end had been successful, he said.

Mr Singh said his team at the voluntary Latimer Street Food Project provided hot meals to locals and was working on "suicide prevention”.

He urged the council to intervene, telling leader Elizabeth Campbell it was her responsibility.

"You are so out of touch, it's disgusting,” he told the panel of representatives from police, fire services and local government.

It was the fourth open discussion with the response team since the tragedy that claimed at least 80 lives.

Residents issued fresh calls for better mental health provision for the surrounding community.

One from a nearby block said living in the shadow of the tower, with no support and little information, had left him and others at "breaking point”.

"Some residents have had enough, they have seriously had enough ... I have had enough,” he said.

Another said government needed to resource mental health care over the long term, saying: "These are lifelong problems.”

One man asked the panel if it was possible he was suffering multiple, repeated traumas by passing in front of the tower every day.

"Each time we walk around this place we see an edifice, that reminds me of what happened on 14 June, of the police man stopping me from rescuing anyone I could save,” he said. "Do you think that the collective mental health of the people in this room is the same?”

Council commissioning director Rachel Turner- Wright promised to do more for survivors and affected residents and, along with Ms Campbell, promised to visit anyone who felt they were not being properly supported. - INM



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