On World Mental Health Day the impact of the Isle of Wight council’s decision to close Mental Health Day Centres weighs heavily on one service user’s mind.
George Brewer got in touch to say that despite the closure of the Day Centres in Ryde, East Cowes, Freshwater and the satellite centre at Ventnor at the end of the month, the only advice he has been offered is a suggestion to ‘pop along to Aspire’.
“The future for community-led mental health for Isle of Wight residents looks bleak and this is shocking for Island residents.”
Brewer: “Desperately betrayed”
“Staff and user morale is very low and a number of users, myself included, are feeling desperately betrayed.”
OnTheWight posed a series of questions to the council. We’re still awaiting responses to those, but in the meantime they have issued this general statement.
Statement from the council
An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said:
“As approved by the council and the NHS in the Mental Health Blueprintand reported widely earlier this year, the Island’s community mental health day services are being redesigned to make them more accessible and responsive to people’s needs.
“This involves a move to a more community-based outreach model of support, which means the council’s services currently provided at four locations at Cowes, Freshwater, Ryde and Ventnor will close in their current form at the end of October.
“There has been a comprehensive review with the 81 people using the service to ensure alternative provision, if they wish to take it up, is in place.
“This alternative provision varies greatly and the aim has been to tailor it according to the individual, ranging from increases in care packages to support in other areas such as from our Living Well Service, the No Barriers employment services or other specialist provision.
“A number of the 81 service users are already funded in residential care or supported accommodation, some have indicated they do not wish to have further ongoing support, and a small number are at present undecided.
“We will continue to offer support to all these people in developing these alternatives on an ongoing basis, and a key focus will be the importance of friendship groups and networks which have been a common theme in the reviews.
“Maintaining networks, peer support and friendship groups are a fundamental part of the vision for the islandwide Mental Health Blueprint, which is aiming to create a new and improved pathway for mental health on the Island focusing on wellbeing and recovery.
“This follows the current service provision being viewed as an out-dated model. The new more person-centred approach is in line with integration work being undertaken with the Island’s NHS trust and clinical commissioning group.
“It is important to stress that all those who use the service were offered an individual impact assessment/review and, where accepted, incorporated their view of what they feel the service offers them as an individual. Their wellbeing remains paramount.
“In relation to the excellent staff who have provided the service at the mental health day centres, consultations in relation to how they may be affected by the service redesign are currently ongoing, so it would be inappropriate at present to provide further specific details.”
Brewer: Believe IWC statement is misleading
In response to the council statement, Mr Brewer told OnTheWight,
“I believe the council statement is misleading, so far as I am aware they have made no effort to provide any kind of social group activity.
“A few people have decided to go to John’s club, although this is aimed more at people with learning disabilities.”
Still waiting seven months on for CPN
He went on to say,
“It is untrue to say some people have decided not to take up offers, little is available.
“For example I could be referred to isorropia, but that can only be done via the CPN team and I am still waiting after seven months and two cancelled appointments to see a CPN.
“There is then a waiting list to actually attend isorropia, at present of some months I am told.
Are IWC about to blame service users?
He finished by saying,
“I have been promised a place at “Furze Brake” extra care housing in Carisbrooke and although I am number one on the waiting list vacancies apparently occur at a rate of about one a year so I’m not exactly packing a suitcase yet!
“From the tone of the council statement, I believe it suggests to me that they are preparing to blame service users for not taking up offers made to them, when in reality little, if anything that they feel appropriate, has been offered.”
14:14 – additional comments from Mr Brewer added