Mental health users in Mid Sussex ‘utterly desperate’

A county councillor has raised concerns over the ‘huge problem’ of lack of mental health services in Mid Sussex.

Speaking to the Middy ahead of World Mental Health Day today (October 10), councillor Anne Jones said people in the district were ‘utterly desperate’ but there is ‘nowhere for them to go’.

Councillor Anne Jones

Councillor Anne Jones

“I am really concerned,” said Anne, who is well known as a campaigner for health services.

“My big concern is since we lost St Francis Hospital in Haywards Heath, Summerfold Community Mental Health Centre in Burgess Hill, and Millhaven Trust in Burgess Hill – all of these services have now gone.

“We have Linwood Community Mental Health Centre in Haywards Heath but often appointments take a long time to come through.

“Some people are utterly desperate. It is a huge problem that needs to be addressed.”

Some people are utterly desperate. It is a huge problem that needs to be addressed.

Councillor Anne Jones

Mrs Jones said she was particularly concerned about young people after recent tragedies in Burgess Hill – involving the deaths of two students.

“These tragedies we have had are heartbreaking – when the pain gets too much it seems like death is the easiest answer,” she said.

“There needs to be mental health training in schools, I have had parents contact me.

“We can’t neglect the needs of our young people, but we can’t expect staff and teachers to know how to be if they have not been trained.”

Mrs Jones said when people visit the doctors, the GPs have ‘nowhere to send them’. “There is nowhere for them to go,” she said.

“Patients are sometimes referred to Time to Talk but this can take weeks just to get onto the system. It really is insufficient for many people.

“And giving people pills, for some, short-term it helps, but it isn’t dealing with the problem properly.”

Mrs Jones said she has been fighting to get something changed for some time. “As a county councillor and being part of the Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee, I have seen and spoken to so many people about this,” she said.

“I have tried to get the problem across, to get more trauma therapy, particularly for victims of abuse.

“Mental health issues can happen to any one of us. One in four people suffer. And everyone can have a situation where suddenly it is all a bit too much.

“Even just talking to a friend, colleague, or neighbour can help. But when it comes to trauma, there is not enough help.

“There needs to be more centres with specialist support. All services need to work together.”

The Middy has approached the health services for a comment.

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