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Support for people affected by major incidents

This week has again seen the NHS responding to a major incident in the capital with the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington and our thoughts go out to all those affected.

Following so shortly after the tragic attacks at London Bridge and previous incidents in Manchester and Westminster Bridge earlier in the year, I wanted to ensure you are aware of the wide range of support available both for our local population and NHS staff who may be experiencing distress.

It is normal to have strong emotional responses to traumatic events and it is important to keep communicating with each other.  Those affected will benefit from being given the space and time to talk and be listened to, and may also benefit from being signposted to relevant support helplines.

An NHS leaflet “Coping with stress following a major incident” is available with further information.
For extra support, you can contact your GP or NHS 111 about possible symptoms of anxiety, depression, or post traumatic disorder, visit NHS Choices or call the Samaritans on 116 123. 

You can also access free local mental health support in Wandsworth, which includes online support, drop in cafés and talking therapies. 

For NHS staff and other agencies, the post-incident support pathways have been developed from the work undertaken in Manchester following the incident in May and draw on expertise from across the NHS, public health and from voluntary sector organisations. The pathways describe the range of difficulties that may be experienced by people who are affected and the responses from services and the wider community that are most likely to be helpful. 

James Blythe
Managing Director, Merton and Wandsworth CCGs