How about this as an attempt to square the circle in case Lord Cotter turns up at my flat tomorrow? Any changes would be welcome but I may end up opening the file in front of him…..
The cuts to Council and some NHS Clinical Commissioning Group funded services in North Somerset remove vital lifelines from vulnerable people. This has major implications for those with mental health conditions, from our Clarity-North Somerset Independent Mental Health Network experiences. The services for vulnerable adults, including those with mental health issues, have already been severely cut e.g. Citizens’ Advice. Further, individuals and groups using 1in4 Peoples’ mental health service are already increasingly struggling with their mental health with the insecurity of it closing and when it closes it will leave a huge void in many of their lives and contribute to even greater social isolation. A support worker from another agency mentioned that during the 1in4 drop ins people come in make a mug of tea etc. sit without necessarily speaking, drink their tea and leave in a visibly calmer state than when they arrived. On the other hand there can be lively conversations on a variety of topics – again helping peoples’ mental health, social inclusion and general welbeing; this just scratches the surface with lots of more structured activities and counselling at a low cost also available.
Mental and physical health need parity of esteem at national and local levels so that the NHS delivers equitable services under these two broad headings. The government have a narrative that they are investing in mental health nationally; it just sadly also seems to have major cuts planned and falling in North Somerset at this time and social services and voluntary organisations cannot be there to fill the gaps as they too like 1in4 and Second Step are going or gone.