Guernsey Mind warns lack of funding may affect growth

A LACK of funding could hold back Guernsey Mind from further supporting the island’s newly-rebranded Specialist Mental Health Services, which was proposed in an independent review of the service.

Jo Cottell, chief executive of Guernsey Mind. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31332081)
Jo Cottell, chief executive of Guernsey Mind. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31332081)

The charity was thoroughly praised throughout David Gedze’s report on the services, and he suggested that it take more responsibility to support groups and individuals with less-serious illnesses.

But Guernsey Mind chief executive Jo Cottell, pictured, said that the charity was funded completely by donations and grants, and received nothing from the States.

‘Currently we can cope with the volume of people coming to us, and at the moment we’re managing, but of course funding is sometimes uncertain in the third sector.

‘If we are not able to receive funding then we will have to revisit our services and what we can provide.’

About 40 people contact Mind for its services each month, and in the past year the organisation has delivered more than 2,000 individual sessions of therapy through various therapists.

A recommendation in Mr Gedze’s report was to maximise use of charities such as Mind, to remove the pressures and misleading expectations of secondary services.

GPs, secondary care services and Healthy Minds do make patient referrals to the charity, but there is currently no direct pathway between the Specialist Mental Health Services and Guernsey Mind.

‘If people using Mind services need secondary care, the referral has to be made by the GP, although Mind would be better placed to refer,’ Mr Gedze said.

‘When people are discharged from secondary care, they often contact Mind for more support, and an established pathway could facilitate a smoother discharge route from secondary care.’

Stakeholders of the mental health system commended Mind’s services, including one person who was given 12 sessions of trauma therapy that they could not get at the Oberlands Centre.

It was noted that islanders may be more inclined to reach out to the charity because it carried less stigma and had a better reputation than States-run secondary care.

‘Some of Mind’s early interventions, such as training mental health first aiders and suicide first aiders in the community, all help how Guernsey and Alderney react to wellbeing, and if we can keep people looking after their wellbeing right from the very start, it means that fewer people could become unwell and need these secondary sector services,’ said Mrs Cottell.

‘These are really important interventions that the community needs to keep doing, as well as keep talking, dispelling stigma, and being signposted to the relevant resources.’

A new cross-departmental steering group has been set up to collectively provide a better mental health service.

Clinical director of the Specialist Mental Health Services, Dr Dominic Bishop said: ‘One of the things that we have discussed at length is whether moving forward we can do joint initiatives, whether that be sharing funding or sharing resources, so all of those options are still open.’

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News