Mental health 'lifelines' axed over cash cuts
PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 April 2018
Users of a mental health 'sanctuary' say its imminent closure will have a 'devastating' impact, with it set to become the second Weston charity of its kind to shut down this year.
1in4 People, in Oxford Street, gives support to people suffering with mental health issues but it is due to close this summer, while similar charity Second Step shut its doors last week.
The closures are due to North Somerset Council and North Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) stopping their funding – although the council says similar services will remain available.
Tanya Fairall regularly uses 1in4 services and says people are ‘very distressed’ about the loss.
She added: “It is going to have an absolutely devastating effect on the lives of hundreds of people. The centre is a vital lifeline, a home from home, and a sanctuary to those of us who suffer disabling, severe mental health problems.
“It is the only place in town I can travel to independently due to it being a non-judgmental, friendly and supportive environment.
“As service users we are all very distressed about the closure as we worry we may become very ill again without the existence of 1in4, leading to more of us needing hospital admissions, which will put a further strain on an already over-stretched NHS.”
North Somerset Council insists its ‘main focus’ is on helping people with mental health needs and is tendering for a new advocacy contract from July, with 1in4 People due to close its services on June 29.
A spokesman said: “We have a statutory duty to provide an advocacy service to support people in North Somerset with their mental health.
“The tender process is not yet complete, however 1in4 People is aware its tender has not progressed to the latter stages of the process.
“We are working closely with North Somerset CCG to advise and support service users and other stakeholders during the period of change.”
The CCG says all 1in4 People users will be contacted to plan the next steps in their care while it considers the way future mental health services are delivered.
Anyone concerned about their mental welfare can contact their GP or the council’s community mental health team on 01934 523700.