Hundreds of Grenfell Tower survivors seeking help for post traumatic stress after disaster

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Hundreds of survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster have been referred to the NHS for treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, new figures reveal.

Some 220, or two thirds (66 per cent), of the 330 people screened following the inferno have been referred for specialist treatment, statistics from Kensington and Chelsea Council show.

The council said it has invested £2.5 million to ensure there is a network of support with outreach teams visiting families and residents in the community and hotels.

The Central Northwest London NHS Foundation Trust, which also has outreach teams going to hotels, along with GPs, have referred 439 people for specialist mental health treatment.

Hundreds of survivors have sought treatment for PTSD (Alamy Stock Photo)

But Steven Pretty, who lived near the 24-storey west London high-rise, where at least 80 people died, said nobody has approached him to offer support after he moved out of his flat following the June 14 blaze.

“Forty yards from my living room window was a tower block that was all on fire… windows were just falling out, the crashing noises, the screams, the shouts,” he told 5 News.

“I couldn’t do anything that night and that’s painful and I’ve been carrying that for the last eight, nine weeks.”

Mr Pretty, 40, is now reaching out for support, and has spoken out to encourage others to do the same.

“I put it off so many weeks because I just felt ashamed of myself, guilt, shock, disturbed, displaced,” he said.

“I need to talk about that night.”

Grenfell: Prince Harry speaks to families affected by the tragedy (AP)

Councillor Kim Taylor-Smith, deputy leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, described the Grenfell tragedy as a “humanitarian crisis on a unique scale”.

“There is a network of support available, including proactive work within the community and schools, a 24 NHS helpline and emotional support services provided by local community groups along with the Samaritans,” she told 5 News.

The figures were revealed as Prince Harry met with victims of the blaze, in which at least 80 people died, and urged children to support each other.

Prince Harry urged youngsters affected by the tragedy to support each other (Getty Images)

The Prince and his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, met survivors of the high-rise blaze and community volunteers as they visited a new centre to provide those affected with psychological support.

Harry previously admitted he struggled in the years after the shock death of his mother Diana, only seeking help more than a decade later.

Responding to pupils at two nearby schools who said they had been talking to each other about the fire, he said: “That’s all you can do, is be there for each other because there will be some people… who either don’t want to talk about their experiences… or think they are absolutely fine, and in years’ time suddenly they might have some nightmares and that’s when you guys will be crucial, because you have been through that process.”

The Duke of Cambridge talks to a child, during his visit to the Al-Manaar Muslim Cultural Centre in London, as part of the Support4grenfell Hub Project (AP)

The brothers were shown around the Support4Grenfell community hub, close to where the charred tower block stands in north Kensington.

The area, spread over two floors, is colourful and child-friendly, with beanbags, board games and more secluded areas for quiet chats.

The pair were due to be joined by the Duchess of Cambridge, who yesterday announced she was pregnant with the couple’s third child, with William apologising to volunteers for her absence. 

Kate, who is suffering with severe morning sickness, as was the case with her previous pregnancies, was forced to pull out of public engagements on Monday and Tuesday.

The Duke said he was sorry Catherine could not be present, to which a volunteer joked: “She’s got a good excuse.”

He said she would have been “thrilled” to hear of the work community groups and charities have been doing, and to see the hub being used.

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