Closure of Belfast MH day centres

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NeuralgicNeurotic

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Closure of Belfast MH day centres

  • on: 31 Oct 2015 12:04PM
I'm a bit behind in posting this story, ironically because it broke just as my own MH was going down the lavatory again.  :-(



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http://www.irishnews.com/news/2015/09/26/news/proposed-closure-of-mental-health-day-centres-devastating--273369/


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A WOMAN suffering from mental health problems for the past 40 years has spoken of her fears about plans to close a day centre she credits with saving her life.

Eileen Burns (59) has attended the Everton complex day centre in north Belfast twice a week since 2000.

Diagnosed with depression when she was 19, her mother left the family when she was a toddler and her father was knocked down and killed when she was a teenager. Her only sibling, John, was burnt to death when she was in her thirties.

After being treated at different services across the city, the grandmother-of-six was referred by a community psychiatric nurse to the Everton facility on the Crumlin Road.

"If it wasn’t for Everton and the staff I probably wouldn’t be here today. It took me five years to build up trust with the staff and they have become like family to me," she said.

"My fear is that its closure will mean I could end up back in hospital - I haven't stopped thinking about it.

"People talk about day centres institutionalising people - but that's not the case. We go out twice a week, everything from craft fairs to museums. It's my only social outlet. I do not go out at all - my home will end up being my institution if it goes. Many other people who go there feel the same way, we are devastated."

The proposed closure of the centre – which is 20 years old - has just gone out to public consultation as part of a change to how day services are delivered in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.

A centre at Whiterock in the west of the city is also under under threat, with a plan to centralise care in the east at Ravenhill Adults Centre.

The consultation document focuses on 'day opportunities' as opposed to 'day centres' and calls for a different approach as to how daycare is delivered, with the focus more on individual care.

Around 200 people attend the two facilities.

Barney McNeany, co-director of mental health in the Belfast Trust, said the "main driver" in the move was the "significant reduction" of referrals to the centres over the past four years, particularly among young women.

“People are not voting with their feet and referrals aren’t being made, it has dropped to below 50 per cent… a lot of service users do feel that going to day centre is institutional," he said.

"We want to promote the recovery of individuals, developing a wellness recovery plan through peer support. That might be about a person wanting to go to the gym or joining a club on their own as opposed to do activities with a group."

Mr McNeany said he was "very sorry" to hear that some people were "distressed" and the trust would strive to provide the full support the individuals required.

The director also insisted the proposals were not "cost-cutting" but admitted he did had to make "efficiencies" in his budget.

"This is about a change in a model of care, it is certainly not a cut. If anything it may cost us more in the short-term… it might save money in the long term.

"As a health service we are not running away from the fact that cost is a significant issue."

NeuralgicNeurotic

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Re: Closure of Belfast MH day centres

  • on: 31 Oct 2015 12:34PM
The possible closure of Ravenhill day centre, which serves the south and east of the city, and the sudden discharging of service users, was discussed on the Nolan Show on 30th October 2015.

The segment begins at 40mins 15secs. The programme will be available until 29th November 2015.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06kcfl0



Belfast HSC Trust is currently running a consultation on the future of MH day centres. This has been extended to 10th December 2015.

Consultation document [.pdf] :
http://www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/pdf/Mental_Health_Consultation_Paper_Date_Extended.pdf


Covering letter [.pdf] :
http://www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/pdf/CE_MHConsultation_CoveringLetter2.pdf


Details of public meeting - Tuesday November 10th [.pdf] :
http://www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/pdf/Notice_of_Public_Meeting_-_Mental_Health.pdf


Summary document [.pdf] :
http://www.belfasttrust.hscni.net/pdf/Mental_Health_Consultation_Summarypaper_extended_date.pdf

Sunshine

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Re: Closure of Belfast MH day centres

  • on: 31 Oct 2015 01:45PM
Looking through the information on the links it seems to me that the people want to focus more on recovery and put that in the context of living in a wider community. Giving people a personalised program of recovery assumes they can recover and also would allow them to avoid being identified with other people with mental health issues. Surely part of getting better is going through the doors of a building and meeting other people who are ill. Would closing Day Centres fracture the mental health community in a particular area.

NeuralgicNeurotic

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Re: Closure of Belfast MH day centres

  • on: 01 Nov 2015 08:22AM
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Would closing Day Centres fracture the mental health community in a particular area.


The services are already fractured, and the day centres are the last area-based services the trust has in place.

Personally, I feel that closing day centres is a mistake. When I was discharged from hospital for the first time, I was referred to a charity-run day centre offering services for young people. Although far from perfect, the sense of community and protection found there was invaluable to me while I was feeling so frightened and vulerable. Far from institutionalising people, the centre was a vital half-way point between the ward and the wider world, and focused on 'normalising' day to day experience.

There were lots of different activities on offer, from basic life skills such as cookery and budgeting, to 'out and about' groups which planned trips to museums and cinemas. I would have had a much harder time deaing with my agoraphobia without the sense of safety in numbers these groups offered. There was also a very good work therapy programme, entirely voluntary, offered in conjunction with community-based courses. I learned office and admin skills, and did foundation IT skills courses at a nearby women's centre. It might sound trivial, but each small success was a big deal to me. Best of all, after a class, I'd be going straight back to the supportive environment of the centre, which helped to reduce my anxiety levels. If I was distressed or otherwise having a difficult time, there were experienced, sympathetic people to talk to.

Because all the members lived in the same area, friendships were made, and I remain friends with many of the people I met back in the centre 20 years ago.

I'm not sure piecemeal, 'individualised' programmes offered by a mish-mash of providers can offer the same standard of support.