Fears over closure of vital service centre

Users of a Scarborough mental health centre have warned that lives will be lost when it closes later this year.

North Yorkshire County Council has informed people who go to the Mental Health Resource Unit in 2 Trafalgar Square that it will cease operating in October and those needing support will have to attend other centres.

But users of the service say that asking vulnerable people to move to a new service is not without its risks.

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One woman, who asked not to be named, has used the service for a number of years and fears for her own and others’ safety.

She told The Scarborough News: “I can’t count the number of times they have saved my life.

“I am bi-polar and I do get suicidal at times and I have people at Traf who I can trust and who I can call for support and they have saved my life.

“I am not exaggerating, without them I would be dead.

“Trust is a very big issue for people with mental health problems and it takes a long time to build up that with our support workers.

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“Starting over with someone new at a different unit could set me, and many others, back.

“If someone is feeling suicidal and they don’t have that level of trust with the person on the other end of the phone then it could be the difference between making the call and not making the call, in effecct the difference between life and death.”

Another service user, who asked to remain anonymous, has been using the service for 15 years.

She said: “It is a lifeline for people who use it. They’re there 24/7 and there is always someone who can help.

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“I was sectioned when I was 30 and I honestly don’t think I’d still be here if it wasn’t for Traf Square.

“I know so many people who have been supported and helped by the key workers and support workers there - I’ve had mine for 15 years.”

Users say they had no prior warning and were not asked how the closure of the facility would affect them.

She added: “There are so many people with mental health issues here that Traf Square was opened as a one off – there is no other service like it and it has been so successful.

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“I don’t think they are going to change their minds but I think people should know that such a vital service is being cut.”

A North Yorkshire County Council spokesman said: “The building no longer meets the expected standards for accommodation and accessibility.

“The building itself will close in October but the community support service as it is now will continue. Anybody who is currently receiving support will continue to do so.

“The staff providing this support will be based in other community bases. Community resources are being identified for drop-in sessions.

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People who are receiving support have been told of the building closing and how their ongoing needs will continue to be met.

“Some existing staff are leaving and others staying with the service, so there will in some cases be a change of support worker.

“Understandably this change will cause concerns and anxiety for people but all individuals will be supported through the change in arrangements.”