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Backing for £45m mental health centre

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CREATING a health campus at Overdale, which would include a £45 million mental health centre, would help tackle the stigma associated with the condition, a charity has said.

Mind Jersey executive director James Le Feuvre

James Le Feuvre, executive director of Mind Jersey, said that the charity backed proposals put forward by Health Minister Andrew Green to build a mental health centre, which would treat both in- and outpatients at the Westmount Road facility.

The plans, which came about following a £350,000 feasibility study of the Island’s mental health services, will be on the agenda for the next Council of Ministers following May’s election.

Mr Le Feuvre said it was important that the mental health services, which are currently based at St Saviour’s Hospital, moved away from the site as it was ‘associated with a lot of stigma’.

Currently, patients with dementia are cared for at Clinique Pinel, which is based at St Saviour’s Hospital, while those with acute mental health conditions such as depression, psychosis and anxiety are treated at the nearby Orchard House.

Under the plans, these patients would be transferred to a new facility which would be built on the Overdale site following the demolition of a number of prefabricated buildings. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Talking Therapies and the Recovery College could also move to the site. Meanwhile, Samarès Ward, a rehabilitation unit already at Overdale, would remain.

‘What we are keen to do is move away from the old way of an asylum, which is what a lot of older people think of St Saviour,’ Mr Le Feuvre said. ‘It is Victorian, outdated and way beyond being fit for purpose.

‘Overdale is much more centrally located and more accessible. It has the potential to become a health campus which would include many mental health services and other services as well.

‘We want it [mental health services] to be part of the community. There could be a GP practice there, a pharmacy, a retail shop.’

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Mr Le Feuvre, who said that ‘too often’ mental health services have been ‘at the back of the queue’ when it came to investment, added that having a ‘21st century facility’ would also help attract mental health workers from the UK to Jersey.

‘We hope very much that the incoming Council of Ministers and Health Minister will be prepared to take this forward,’ he said. ‘It is important that there is improvement for people who need access to mental health services.’

Senator Green said that if the next Council of Ministers approved the recommendation and there were no delays in getting the project of the ground it could take five years for the centre to be built.

Krysta Eaves

By Krysta Eaves
author

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