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Green et al. introduce the effective “screen and treat” approach to major incidents and focus on the key differences in the treatment elements between “disseminated” and “centred” events (Editorial, 31 Mar-7 April). However for clinicians, it is arguably more beneficial to understand the core principles of “screen and treat” programmes.
Following the Grenfell Tower fire, a large number of surviving residents and the wider affected community identified by the Trauma Screen Questionnaire-10 (1) as high risk for developing PTSD, were efficiently referred for assessment and treatment. However, from my experience in Psychiatry, I am mindful that the variability in onset and presentation of mental illnesses may not have been accurately captured, and directed help can be frequently declined.
Whilst the subsequent large burden for local mental health services is mentioned, there is no reference to the anticipated toll of emerging major mental health sequelae in the long term, or how we should mobilise our resources in preparation. Perhaps it requires a collaborative effort from the NHS, Public Health and Local Authorities to create and evaluate individualised post-trauma interventions to support the mental health needs of the survivors.
No competing interests
1. Brewin CR, Scragg P, Robertson M, Thompson M, d’Ardenne P, Ehlers A, et al. (2008). Promoting mental health following the london bombings: a screen and treat approach. J. Trauma Stress 21, 3–8. 10.1002/jts.20310