Frequently Asked Questions

Further information - mental health support service for people affected by the 2017 London terror attacks

What is this service?

This is an NHS service to help people directly affected by the four London terrorist attacks at Westminster, London Bridge and Borough Market, Finsbury Park, and Parsons Green Underground Station in 2017. 

The service is for the bereaved, the injured, people who were at the incidents, as well as their close family including children, members of the emergency services and those providing initial care after the attacks. It is for children, young people and adults and is open to people across England, as many people at the attacks were from outside London.

What does the service do?

The service is staffed by a team of specialist psychologists who have experience of working with people who have been involved in traumatic events including terrorist attacks. They will be able to give advice about what reactions are normal, whether you would benefit from more targeted support and refer you the services you might need.

The service was established in October 2017 and has been working closely with the emergency services to start making contact with people who were affected by the terror attacks and taking action depending on what they need. So far 470 people have been referred to the service this way but we now want to get the message out that this extra support is available and encourage people who have been affected to get in touch.

I was at one of the attacks but don’t live in London, can I get help?

Yes. The service is based in London, but it offers support to anyone in England.

What about if I live in Scotland, Wales, the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland?

The service can screen you, offer you advice and write to your GP with the outcome of your emotional wellbeing questionnaire and recommend if further support is needed. It can not provide a face to face clinical assessment.

How do I contact the service?

You can call us on 0800 090 23 71 (free from landlines and mobiles) or email us on 

outreachandscreen@slam.nhs.uk

We are open to take calls Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm. You can leave answerphone messages at other times and we will call you back. If we are very busy, you may be asked to leave a message on an answerphone, even during opening hours.

Will the service offer treatment?

If you require treatment the psychologist will refer you to a local NHS service that can offer you appropriate treatment. If appropriate treatment is not available to you locally or there is a very long wait time for treatment the service will offer you treatment.

How will the information I share on the screening form be used?

The information you give us in your screening form, on the phone if you call us or during a clinical assessment will be used by one of our psychologists to see if you would benefit from extra support. We will ask your permission before we refer you to other services, unless we are concerned that you are at serious and immediate risk.

If you email us, psychologists from the service will look at your answers and then call you on whichever phone number you have provided.

If you are 15 or younger we will call your parent or carer, but we are happy to speak to young people directly once we’ve made contact with your parent/carer.

Evaluation

The service can use your anonymised answers to help us understand trauma reactions better, so we can improve our services and plan responses to any future incidents. All information that identifies you, such as your name and date of birth, will be removed to do this.

When you contact the service you will be asked if you consent to your information being used this way.

What happens when I have completed my screening questionnaire?

Screening aims to assess whether common mental health symptoms following a traumatic event that could be improved with available psychological treatment are present. It is carried out with a brief screening questionnaire that can be completed online here or on paper. The service provides individuals with a prompt reply that includes the outcome of their questionnaire. People reporting none or a few symptoms are offered a follow-up after three months of the initial contact with a possible invitation to retake the screening after six months. People reporting mild to severe levels of symptoms are invited for a clinical assessment.

What happens if I need a clinical assessment?

The service will contact you if your screening indicates a degree of difficulties following the attack, to arrange a face-to-face assessment with a specialist psychologist at a convenient time. The appointment takes between 1-2 hours and is offered in specialist clinics across North or South London or over the telephone or Skype. The psychologist assesses current difficulties using a diagnostic interview and standard questionnaires. They then offer a discussion about options for treatment or recommend monitoring your symptoms.

What kind of treatment could I be referred to?

The NHS offers evidence-based treatments for mental health difficulties following a traumatic event, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. This typically consists of eight to 20 sessions of psychological therapy, although this will be decided according to individuals’ needs. The service will make referrals on behalf of individuals to an appropriate local service with recommendations to provide this treatment. Additionally, the service will follow-up to provide any additional support or information that is required.

What about children or young people under the age of 18?

We would like to ensure that children and young people have the same opportunity to obtain treatment. There is a separate questionnaire available for children and young people. Most young people aged seven or over will be able to answer the questionnaire themselves. Wherever a child under 16 is able to understand the questionnaire, they should complete it themselves. However, every child and young person is different and some may need help from a parent or carer to complete the questionnaire.

Can I recommend others to take part, or complete the questionnaire on their behalf?

If you know of anyone who may benefit from this service, please do inform them or, with their consent, provide us with their contact details. Where possible, the person affected should complete the questionnaire themselves. If you are a carer, or if you are completing the questionnaire on behalf of a child, please clearly state your name and relationship to the person affected when completing the form.

What if I don’t want to take part?

You are not obligated to have contact with the service and you can choose not to take part in the service at any stage. You can call us on 0800 090 23 71 to let us know if you do not want to be contacted by the service. You can always contact your GP or NHS 111.

What do I do if I am already receiving support or treatment?

If you are already receiving psychological treatment or support in relation to the London incidents, our service may still be able to help by providing consultation to your local service. Please provide details of the person or organisation providing you with treatment, if you would like us to liaise with them.

Is the service confidential?

The service is confidential and any information that you provide is shared only with NHS professionals involved in your care when necessary e.g. your GP. In cases of concern for risk to individuals we will notify the relevant statutory service e.g. GP, emergency services.

I was involved or affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower. Can I use this service?

This service is for people who have been affected by the terrorist attacks in London but other services have been set up to support people who were involved or affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower. Anyone who needs urgent emotional or psychological help, can call a free, local 24/7 NHS helpline. Services can be reached by calling 0800 0234 650 or emailing cnw-tr.SPA@nhs.net any day, any time, including weekends and bank holidays. Just tell the call handler you’ve been affected by the Grenfell Tower fire, and they will ensure you are referred quickly to the right service and support. The service is confidential and you are not required to give any personal details.

There is also a free and confidential NHS service for children and adults who were affected by the Grenfell Tower fire. It provides a range of psychological therapies and support to help you feel better if you or your children are feeling traumatised, unable to sleep, having memories or pictures of the event unexpectedly popping into your mind, or feeling anxious, stressed or worried. You can self-refer here.

You can find details about all the NHS support available at www.grenfell.nhs.uk

Can I talk to you without giving you my name?

The service will ask for contact details and other information. This is to allow us to make referrals on your behalf and contact you to check how you are doing. You do not need to give us any contact details but this will limit how much we can help you. However, we will still speak to you and assist you if can.

We will never pass on your details without your permission unless we are concerned that you or someone else is at serious and immediate risk, or the law requires it.

How will the information I give in the questionnaire by used?

Any information that you provide is shared only with NHS professionals involved in your care when necessary, for example your GP. In cases of concern for risk to individuals we will notify the relevant statutory service, for example you GP or emergency services.

I was not at any of the attacks but hearing about them has affected me. Can I get help from the service?

We will speak to anyone who has been affected and sign-post you to the best service for your needs. However the service is for people who were caught up in the attacks, or who had friends or loved ones who were injured or killed.

Can I claim for financial help from the service?

No.  The service is not involved in distributing any financial aid.

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