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Commentary

ICPEM Annual Conference Part 4

Susan Greenwood – my story as a 7/7/ survivor.

This was a powerfully emotive session. A tale of tragedy and survival. A tale of reflections and unique insights as to where our sector could make significant improvements to enhance the survivor experience in response and recovery. I will freely admit, I found this presentation uncomfortable at times. Not for any reason other than it is hard. It’s hard, to sit and hear a first-hand account of such tragedy and suffering that Susan both experienced and witnessed. All I can say is, that I am grateful to have had this opportunity. Glad that I did sit in my discomfort and, I am glad that Susan took the time to come and speak to us that day. Thank you Susan Greenwood for sharing your tale of survival and recovery. Susan did this with grace, humility and at times a lot of self-deprecating humour to lighten the mood. I took away an unusual sense that despite all that she endured that day and following, she felt like one of the lucky ones. Lucky? How? Well, I wrote this yesterday for #worldmentalhealthday2022 to try and amplify Susan’s message on mental health access issues and raise awareness. Susan Greenwood stated how grateful she was for all the support and care she received from various services. But, used this presentation as an opportunity, to speak for those who had not received such support. So yes, through it all that was why she had felt lucky, she had received the support and care she needed – but many others had not. The biggest message I took away was #mentalhealth in the human aspects in response and recovery – what about the uninjured survivors, what support did they receive for the horrors of what they witnessed? Why do they not get the same level of treatment and support? What about the bystanders, and operational response personnel with PTSD. #mentalhealth and #wellbeingatwork is an issue I heard raised at every conference. Indeed, post many incident in informal discussion – so I ask, you all - consider what more we can, and should be doing?

  • Do we effectively consider the un-injured survivors Does everyone get access to care and support? The emergency planning officers – are they getting support? Do strategic and tactical get the same level of mental health support as those who are operational? Is there an unseen and unrecognised division in the care for the operational staff on scene and those who are remote, or those who are not first response but equally front-line office staff? From a business sense when we consider operational resilience, organisational resilience – should we be deploying our own risk reduction measures – by taking care of our staff, by speaking up, raising awareness for these issues, and ensuring support is put into place and available to all. Thank you for shining a light on this issue Susan.

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