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Dozens of Grenfell fire survivors have attempted suicide, charity says

Dozens of Grenfell fire survivors have attempted suicide, charity says
At least 20 survivors and witnesses of the Grenfell Tower ‘inferno’ have attempted to take their lives, according to a charity.

Silence of Suicide founder Yvette Greenway said the figure was based on reports from volunteers assisting residents.

Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey block in North Kensington, west London, was ravaged by a blaze last June that killed at least 80 people. More than 200 are thought to have escaped the fire.

"We've been told workers are going around putting leaflets under hotel doors and not actually speaking to people," Greenway told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme.

"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.”

Saying that there is little confidence in council-led mental health services, Greenway added there is “a lot of drug and alcohol dependency” among surviving residents, who have been left feeling “isolated”.

While the figure of 20 is yet to be verified by the BBC, Justice4Grenfell’s Judy Bolton supported the claim, as she said people are now struggling to rid themselves of the horrifying images they witnessed the night their homes were reduced to ashes on June 14.

Bolton, a nurse for 20 years who is now coordinating volunteers for Grenfell, said:

"There just isn't the proper psychiatric help that people need.

"They need trauma and bereavement counselling urgently.”

Saying that “people are self-medicating to shut out the trauma,” Bolton claimed the area had been “flooded with drug dealers preying on the traumatised”.

"People saw their neighbours falling from a burning building.

"They saw children being dropped from the building.

"There are ashes still blowing over us when the train goes past.

"We're being covered in the ash of our dead friends and relatives."

The Royal Council of Kensington and Chelsea is yet to respond to a request for comment.