World Mental Health day comes to Redbridge

BRIGHTLY coloured balloons and a clown were on the door of Redbridge Town Hall for World Mental Health Day.

Services for the borough’s most vulnerable came together to provide everything from entertainment to advice, with a backdrop of live music performed by the Redbridge Lounge Players.

While many praised the work of these services, others blasted the ignorance they say still exists today.

Jane Swindells, 45, of Barkingside said if it was not for the ‘vital’ services and clubs at Ley Street Day Care Centre, in Ley Street, Gants Hill, she would be at home most of the time.

“These clubs are vital, I was over the moon when I heard Ley Street Centre had been saved from closure.

“I get the mickey taken out of me so I often ask my son to accompany me on trips out.

Miss Swindells attends an Outlook session every Friday, where she has the chance to socialise and meet new people, as well as have a hot meal.

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At every turn, there was advice available from friendly faces; The Samaritans, The Community Mental Health Team for Older People In Redbridge, Abury House, Ley Street Centre and Redbridge Community Housing Limited, who were all present with service users, happy with Redbridge’s mental health care infrastructure.

Samaritan volunteers Charlene Quinn, 25, of Manor Park, and Beverly Poynter, 41, of Bethnal Green said volunteering was one of the best things they had ever done. Ms Poynter said: “I had some issues of my own a few years ago. It made me think of others who may be having feelings they need to discuss.

“I’ve talked to suicidal people, and making them know they are not alone is one of the most rewarding things I have ever experienced.”

Service users and workers at the Ley Street Day Centre and Abury House had been celebrating after the council withdrew proposals to close the services, after being hit with protests at the plans.

To talk to the Samaritans confidentially, call 08457909090.