Rethink urged over mental health site closure

SUPPORTERS of a mental health crisis centre are continuing their fight to save it from closure.

Last year Leeds Council proposed changes to mental health services, arguing that there was "duplication of services" across the city.

It proposed the closure of the Leeds Crisis Centre in Headingley by April this year.

The centre is believed to be the only council-run instant-access counselling service in the country and costs the authority almost 700,000 a year to run.

A former service user has urged to council to think again about axing the service, which has been providing emergency counselling for over 20 years.

She said: "I had never had any kind of mental illness, didn't know much about depression and wasn't really aware that anxiety or psychosis existed. I never thought I was the 'type' to get depression. But I had unusually severe post-natal depression after the birth of my second child and planned suicide one sleepless night by jumping up on the roof of my house, ending up spending two months in a psychiatric mother and baby unit.

"In the months leading up to my hospitalization as I was finding it increasingly difficult to cope, the Leeds Crisis Centre's staff members were extremely supportive, and the fact that I was able to access counselling within 24 hours of making an initial phone-call was particularly helpful. I will always be especially grateful to Leeds Crisis Centre for helping our family through this difficult time, and really can't recommend this service highly enough."

Supporters of the centre claim that NHS services have big waiting lists

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care, said the council faced very difficult decisions which she would rather not be taking – but had to.

She said Government funding cuts meant that the council had to reduce spending on "non-statutory" services – ones that councils are not legally obliged to provide.