Today, 21 May 2018 is a long awaited day for the victims of the Grenfell atrocity as it heralds the start of the eagerly awaited inquiry. SOS Silence of Suicide want to extend our love and support to all families involved in the Inquiry. May you and your loved ones get the justice and accountability you all deserve.
SOS Silence of Suicide have supported those affected by the Grenfell atrocity since that horrific night last June when 73 people lost their lives, although some believe it may have been more.
We held meetings in the locality up until December last year, reaching out to all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities and were assisted by some superb volunteers – normal people who simply wanted, and needed, to help those whose lives had been shattered through the loss of loved ones and/or their homes. Since then, we are in regular contact with some of those we met in the days, weeks and months immediately following the fire that should never have happened.
Shock, trauma, depression & anxiety were, and still are, rife amongst the immediate and distant communities. Some people still await new homes, almost 12 months on. The ‘Grenfell Cough’ that affected residents, volunteers and visitors remains with additional ailments such as Bronchitis. No surprise given the vast volume of toxicity in the air, swept over larger areas every time the wind blew. Air quality is another key concern and some honesty and transparency is long overdue.
We know that besides the immediate victims, many volunteers and fire service personnel have, or are still, suffering from the psychological beating that the tragedy of Grenfell has delivered. Which is why it is horrifying that the mental health element of the atrocity is given no place in the inquiry. The biggest by-product of the atrocity after the human loss of life, mental wellbeing, was not deemed worthy of inclusion into the Terms of Reference.
Section 7 of the Grenfell Inquiry being chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick disgracefully states that:
…’However, an investigation into the actual or potential effects of the fire on the health of those who escaped from the tower, the firefighters & residents of neighbouring buildings, either immediate or long term, would introduce a whole new area of investigation, which in my view, does not fall within the Inquiry’s current Terms of Reference. For that reason, the detailed questions to which it would give rise have not been identified in the published List of Issues and hitherto no one has suggested that they should have been. Public Health England was asked to investigate this question immediately after the fire and has been testing air quality and other potential threats to public health. In those circumstances, I do not propose to seek evidence of a kind that would be relevant to such an investigation’
Not even a mention about mental health. Absolutely nothing at all.
Speaking to a qualified volunteer recently, people are still struggling. Support has, at best, been fragmented, at worst not accessible for everyone for many reasons.
If action isn’t taken now to implement a robust mental health support team, then today’s youngsters who witnessed the horrors could quite possibly need support for decades to come as they grow into adults. Today’s adults also need continuous support as the levels of substance abuse remain, a slight respite maybe in an attempt to expel the criminal images from their minds. Employers and teachers need support on how best to support grief stricken individuals and families. The ripple effect is vast.
The truth is EVERYONE touched by Grenfell must have easy access to continuous support services.
SOS will be praying that the survivors of Grenfell get the answers they want.
We also remain ready to offer any emotional and psychological support that is required, so please do contact us if you think we may be able to assist you.
#GrenfellInquiry #Atrocity #mayjusticeprevail