Developing a response plan for suspected suicide in a disaster situation: lessons from the Grenfell Fire tragedy
PHE ePoster Library. McKirdy A. 09/10/18; 221402; 88
Annie McKirdy
Annie McKirdy
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Abstract Introduction | The Grenfell Fire in June 2017 sparked concern about suicide-risk in the affected population - specifically, the potential for contagion and 'suicide clusters'. Public Health England have developed guidance on local response to clusters, which outlines appropriate steps and necessitates development of a Community Action Plan (CAP). Although the general objectives are detailed, specifics of how a plan should look are not provided as there is not a 'one-size-fits-all' solution. This summary outlines the process by which we developed a CAP in response to the Grenfell tragedy.Process | Following a review of guidance and example CAPs, key stakeholders were identified within Local Authority, CCGs, NHS, emergency services etc. Intensive stakeholder engagement was required to understand pre-existing processes and governance, and potential barriers. Clear roles and actions were outlined, with commitment required from all partner agencies. The CAP has been drafted into an accessible pack format, and appropriate training is being developed.Results | A Grenfell-specific CAP - including a reporting pathway for suspected suicides - has been agreed. It is envisioned that the Plan will be ratified in the coming months, and will inform the wider Local Authority CAP as part of their 2018 Suicide Prevention Strategy refresh.Conclusion | The Grenfell incident provided a particular set of challenges during establishment of the CAP, particularly regarding the suicide notification process and the difficulties of multi-agency working in disaster-recovery circumstances. Many of these issues can be extrapolated to comparable disaster situations, hence lessons learned from our experience can inform future practice.
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