Mental Health Sufferers Face Uncertain Future

Hundreds of mental health sufferers fear they will be left to cope alone with the future of their support centre hanging in the balance. Resource, based in Reading, faces closure because of a lack of funds – leaving its 1,400 users with nowhere else to go.

It has been open in Reading and Newbury for seven years and offers mental health sufferers a place to work, socialise and learn new skills. It receives funding from the Berkshire West PCT, Reading Borough Council, Berkshire Health Trust and the European Social Fund. But with 12 new members signing up each month and the European Social Fund withdrawing its cash next March, it needs £200,000 this year to survive.

Zena Palk, who suffers from bipolar disorder, says her health will deteriorate if the centre closes. The 49-year-old said: “If there is no Resource, what will I do with my day? There is no other organisation like it. It is such a big support. It helps people get back into work and to understand their illness better. It has helped me to build my self-esteem and it makes me feel like I am worth something.”

Dan Walton, who battles with depression, was living in his car before discovering Resource [2014] where the 27[2014]year[2014]old now works as a maintenance supervisor. He said: “You are in an environment where people are like you. If there is somebody in the position I was in three years ago and there is no Resource to help, who knows what will happen to them.

“There will be more hospital admissions, because if people don’t have this, they are going to sit on their worries until they relapse. But then it is difficult to get the funds because mental health isn’t exactly fashionable. We are adults with mental health, so we don’t elicit a lot of sympathy.”

Resource’s deputy chief executive Polly Falconer said: “The impact on Berkshire, and particularly in Reading, is going to be phenomenal. There isn’t anything else like this around Reading and in terms of the range of services that we provide, we are unique. We are highly commended nationally and its seems such a shame that Reading is going to lose such a treasure.”