Trouble In Mind Set To Hit Mentally Ill

A mental health charity fears dozens of people in Bournemouth could lose vital community support if it cannot find funding to keep three of its local services going. Mind has warned it will have to issue redundancy notices this week and close three services for people with mental health problems at the end of the month unless Bournemouth Council comes up with the money. Those affected are Women in Mind, a group for women with mental health problems including depression, Panacea, a group for people affected by anxiety, stress or phobias, and a recreation service at the Pokesdown Club.

Stewart Harrison, chairman of Dorset Mind, said: “I think it’s a disaster. We’ve got three contracts, which expire at the end of this month. Two hundred people have used these services in the last year, but there will be no services after about the first week of October.

“Mental health is never the flavour of the month. The net effect on these people is that they will feel abandoned. It will have a detrimental effect on their health, particularly at this time of year when SAD (seasonally affected depression) increases.”

He explained that Bournemouth Council had only handed over half of the £25,000 needed to fund the Bournemouth part of Panacea and the other two services this year because it wanted to “reshape” services.

If the grant for the remaining six months was not paid, the equivalent of 2.5 jobs would be lost, and the viability of support services affected.

“The unfortunate thing is that we met the council on September 4. They were making lots of positive noises, but with two weeks to go, we’ve had absolutely nothing. We don’t know where we are. It’s an awful way to treat people.”

David Palmer, service manager for mental health at Bournemouth council, said: “After a meeting with the charity on September 4, it was agreed that funds would be continued to the end of the financial year.

“The charity is funded through a national mental health grant, which the government is reducing each year. We have been working with the charity to look for ways in which we can help to reduce their costs and still provide effective care for residents.