Honiton man raises concerns as mental health services are hit by funding changes

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:11 09 February 2017

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Mental health services are set to change and one Honiton client says he feels 'let down' by the proposals.

The Haven, in High Street, which is run by Mind in Exeter and East Devon, will cease to operate open, walk-in appointments from April 1.

Those eligible will be transferred on to a 12-week programme under the changes by Devon County Council (DCC) and Devon Partnership NHS Trust (DPT).

Honiton resident Gary Wakeham has voiced his concerns about losing the walk-in service, which has supported him for six years.

The 53-year-old praised the centre’s ‘exceptional’ staff that helped him during a mental breakdown following the sudden death of his son Steven, 32, last year.

The Honiton resident, who has suffered with depression for more than 30 years, said: “My biggest concern is there’s nowhere to go and having to start again. It’s taken me so many years to talk about things that have happened to me and to trust someone. I feel really let down.

“An hour-and-a-half [per week]isn’t a long time when you are suffering with depression, it’s a 12-week course and after that 12 weeks there’s nothing again.

“You get days where you cannot speak, you do not want to speak and it all depends on your mood.”

Devon County Council and Devon Partnership NHS Trust has said more money is being invested to support vulnerable adults but it will be used in a ‘more targeted way’ to support mental health sufferers towards recovery.

DCC provides funding for some social care needs of people with mental health issues. These services are currently provided by a organisations such as Mind, and Devon Partnership NHS Trust manages these contracts.

A spokesman for DCC and DPT said: “By providing more personalised care that specifically meets individuals’ needs, we know that people can see marked improvements in their mental health, such that they require less support from statutory services. That’s what people want, and that’s what we want to help them achieve.”

The spokesman added the authorities were working with Mind and other healthcare providers to support people through the transition and signpost people to services.

Mind in Exeter and East Devon CEO Ruth Wells said DCC and DPT were in an ‘impossible position’ to reduce funding.

The charity faces a cut of £300,000 to their annual funding for community services – 35 per cent of its total annual budget.

The CEO said: “We want to reassure clients that we will be doing everything we can to ensure that those who are not eligible for the new service will be supported so that they continue to benefit from peer support networks that they have developed.”

“We will do everything we can to deliver effective services even with the huge reduction of financial resources. We will be working with national Mind to design a new service of focused recovery for eligible clients.”

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