The mental health response to the Grenfell Tower fire is provided by Central and Northwest London Mental Health Foundation Trust (CNWL). Screen and treat is the approach they have used to deal with the potential high incidence of trauma. This approach is based on strong clinical evidence.

Screen and treat is a long term programme delivered in phases. Phase 1 focuses on reaching those most likely to be at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CNWL teams are first ensuring that all residents of the tower have been offered screening and treatment. To date, all residents have been contacted on at least one occasion to offer screening and the team continue to attempt to reach those who did not answer or who have previously declined screening.

This planned approach to reaching all evacuated residents and bereaved families and friends is being supplemented by street outreach - door knocking and offering screening and support services to residents who are still living in their flats surrounding the tower. This will ensure that the wider community who have also been affected by the fire are also offered support and treatment.

To date, screening has been provided for 822 adults. 201 (22%) of adults referred to CNWL have declined screening and/or treatment. People are indicating that they want to be settled in permanent accommodation before commencing treatment for PTSD. CNWL will re-contact these people to offer support again at a later date.

There are 401 adults currently in treatment and 38 adults have completed their treatment. 173 Children and Young People have been referred into child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) to date. Of those children referred to CAMHS, 58 are now receiving specialist care. 42 have refused treatment and 35 have completed treatment.

The mental health response will develop into a longer-term offer to support trauma, emotional health and other physical and mental health needs.

About the CNWL Outreach team

The CNWL outreach team is a multi-disciplinary team of 25 mental health professionals and support workers (some of whom come from the local community) who work within the North Kensington community to provide information and support to residents affected by the Grenfell fire. Their approach is flexible, proactive and creative and is informed by continual dialogue and engagement with a wide range of community stakeholders.

The Outreach team also provide initial assessments for PTSD – often in community settings like the Curve [special response centre set up after the fire] or in people’s homes, and where indicated and with patient consent will refer into the adults Grenfell service in CNWL for clinical assessment and treatment. Patients can be referred for PTSD, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

In addition to screening, the Outreach team provides emotional and mental health support, practical assistance to navigate support services, and works closely with local community groups to help build community resilience.

Outreach services are provided in the daytime at the Curve and in hotels. For the last month this service has been available overnight at Notting Hill Methodist Church, where team members from Hestia [another support service], CNWL and the Drug & Alcohol Service are working together.

The 24/7 Mental Health phone line remains available as a gateway into all CNWL services. Since June there have been 324 Grenfell-related contacts.

In total the NHS outreach team has had 4,082 contacts.

Suicide prevention

Suicide prevention is not only about dedicated suicide prevention services, but also about effectively identifying those at risk and providing easy access to good mental health services.

In order to help identify those that are at risk of suicide, the NHS are proactively monitoring a number of areas to identify any changes in activity, including CNWL Serious Incidents, attendance at A&E and inpatient admissions for self-harm. Training is also being provided to staff and volunteers to equip them with the skills to identify risk and understand appropriate and effective responses.

Projected costs

The health response will require £7m in 17/19 and an additional £8-10m in 18/19. We are working with NHS England to ensure funding is available.

Article date: 5 December 2017

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