by Nadeem Badshah
LOCAL RESIDENTS NEED MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT, SAYS COUNCILLOR
Families who witnessed neighbours dying in the Grenfell Tower fire in London have not been contacted by authorities offering mental health support, a councillor has claimed.
Beinazir Lasharie, a mother of two young children, told Eastern Eye that some traumatised residents in west London have been forgotten about by the government and local authority.
The Labour councillor for the borough of Kensington and Chelsea lives near the block of flats that was destroyed in the blaze in June, with at least 80 people dead. #
Lasharie said she suffers flashbacks of the night of the inferno and has not been offered any therapy for herself, her two-year-old daughter or three-year old son. She told Eastern Eye: “From when this first happened, in terms of assistance for mental health, the only way you can get help is voluntary organisations who offer counselling.
“I met some outreach workers a few weeks back and all they done is give me some leaflets.
“We have lost our friends and people we have known for years, we have witnessed something no-one should have witnessed.
“People screaming for help, we weren’t able to help them – it plays over in one’s mind again and again.
“My walkway is where the bodies were placed. My children play in that walkway, I am worried about the long-term impact and how it will shape them.”
It comes as faith leaders urged Kensington and Chelsea Council to invest more in mental health services after it emerged that at least 20 people have tried to take their own life since the fire.
During a public meeting in July Bhupinder Singh from the Latimer Street Food Project claimed his team was working on “suicide prevention” and demanded the local authority do more.
Lasharie is also unhappy with the panel set up for the public inquiry into the tragedy, which is chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick.
BMElawyers4Grenfell, a group that represents survivors, has written to the government slamming the lack of diversity on the panel and people from the area.
Lasharie, who has been a councillor since 2014, added: “The judge and the people on the panel don’t seem to represent any of us.
“Who are they, why are they there? Why aren’t there people from the community included.
“There’s one Asian woman, who doesn’t have a connection to any of us. “
Why not pick a few people from the area. It feels like we will never get to the truth.
“It’s going to be a cover-up. Because of the bodies were left to burn for so long, we are not going to have an accurate account of the numbers either.”
Sajid Javid, the communities and local government secretary, said he is committed to offering mental health support to residents affected by the Grenfell blaze.