LONG-TERM support for people with mental health issues is on offer as part of a pioneering project.
But funding is needed to secure the scheme for the future and help expand the number of residents who can be offered help.
The mentoring project was the brainchild of Headgym counsellor Neil Ordish and Elaine Grant, Early Help funding and family learning development co-ordinator, both members of the Redditch Mental Health Action Group.
They attracted the support of Andrea Maddocks, chief executive of Mentorlink which now administrates the scheme, and Global Harmony life coach Beth Haining, who has been leading the mentoring along with Neil, as well as The Space in Winyates and Bromford who provide rooms for the mentoring to take place in.
They are currently halfway through a six-month pilot, with ten residents being given weekly sessions either face-to-face, over the phone or through internet video calling programme Skype thanks to funding from the Redditch and Bromsgrove Clinical Commissioning Group. A further ten people are now being enrolled on the pilot while organisers search for long-term funding.
Mr Ordish said: “The service came about from going to the first MHAG meeting and seeing the amount of confusion, tension and anger in the room. I came out of it thinking there must be something which can be done here.
“A lot of people seem to be frustrated with getting the right sort of support or knowing where to go for support. I spoke to a lot of people who I work with through Headgym and they said they needed some sort of long-term support and that’s why it started.”
Positive results are already being seen, with some people returning to work after being unemployed for years while others are overcoming addictions, tackling problems and beginning to approach different areas of their lives in a more positive way.
“We need more funding to enable this proven mechanism to work long-term. All the options currently on offer are short-term and quite often people find themselves back in the same place once that intervention has finished, while some people are unable to get any support at all.” Mr Ordish added.
“The funding we attract will be used to try and ensure people don’t re-enter the system so it’s actually saving money in the long term and will get people out of the doctor’s waiting room.”