Young Grenfell community speak out about mental health
Young people from the Grenfell community have decided to speak out about mental health and how they were affected by the Grenfell tragedy in support of World Mental Health Day, Wednesday 10 October.
Every year World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues and the work being done to support those that need it. The focus this year is on young people and mental health at a time of life when many changes are occurring such as new schools, exam stress, moving from home and generally finding their place in the world. This transition was made even more difficult for children who experienced the Grenfell tragedy. Since the disaster, young people in the community have been active in sharing their experiences and have been encouraging others to talk about mental health.
Riana, 17, who lives in the local area said: “Lots of my friends and peers have been affected by what happened at the Grenfell Tower. It’s really important that we are aware of the mental health issues that may be affecting us. It is also important for us to come together and speak about mental health in a way that is empowering and positive for us.”
The NHS has been active within the community since the devastation of Grenfell and has been treating people for issues related to mental health and trauma. Young people are often less likely to access services that are available to them or ask for help due to the stigma related with mental health, resulting in them dismissing their feelings.
Mona Hayat, Director of North Kensington Recovery, NHS West London Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It’s essential that young people who have been affected by the Grenfell tragedy recognise the signs of poor mental health and feel safe and comfortable to open up. By giving young people in the community a platform to share their thoughts and experiences we can ensure their voice is heard and that other young people know that it’s okay, not to feel okay, because there are people here to speak with and who will understand.”
Short videos of the young people from Grenfell talking about mental health can be found here. You can also join the conversation about mental health online, search #worldmentalhealthday and #OKnottofeelOK on social media.
Notes to editors
1. World Mental Health Day (10 October 2018) is hosted by the World Health Organisation. This year the focus is on young people and mental health in a changing world. More information can be found here.
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