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BPS News

Psychological help after major disasters

19 June 2017

Many people caught up in the Grenfell Tower fire will be experiencing distress, but help is available

Dr Noreen Tehrani, Chair of the British Psychological Society’s Crisis, Disaster and Trauma Psychology Section, says:

“People react differently and it takes different amounts of time to come to terms with what has happened.

In the few weeks after trauma it is common to experience difficulties sleeping, thoughts and memories of what happened coming into mind, feeling very tired, having bad dreams, feeling irritable, poor concentration, poor memory, finding it difficult to think clearly, experiencing changes in appetite, feeling low or upset and avoiding reminders of the incident.”

One month after such an incident, many people will report that they feel better.

But if their problems become worse or last longer than one month after the event, this may be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  PTSD is an intense physical and emotional response to thoughts and reminders of the event that can last for many weeks or months after the traumatic event.

It is advisable to speak to your GP in the first instance if you are troubled in this way.  Talking treatments such as trauma focused cognitive behavioural therapy may help you.

There is also some useful information for the public and professionals on these sites:


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