day centres "maintain" stigma , says government report
by Mike George
Traditional mental health day centres reinforce the stigma of having
a mental health problem, a new government report states.
centres “maintain segregation" by restricting interaction
among its users with the wider community and failing to help users
shed the identity of “mental patient”, said the report.
report, published last week, quotes one mental health day centre
user as saying: "I want a way forward, not just sitting there,
just drinking tea and talking about the side effects of various
service commissioners' guidance report - entitled From Segregation
To Inclusion: Commissioning Guidance On Day Services For People
With Mental Health Problems - is one of four launched last week
by mental health minister Rosie Winterton in a drive to help people
with mental health problems return to work.
To help achieve this, Ms Winterton wants a move away from traditional
day services based in one building to services which link up with
existing community resources. This, the report states, will promote
both “recovery, social inclusion and self-determination”
and opportunities to return to work.
The report recognises that traditional day centres may be valuable
meeting points or ‘drop-ins’. However,
it urges that "ordinary” community facilities or organisations
- such as cafés, faith groups, leisure and sport providers,
further education colleges or community centres - be used to help
provide day services. This is seen as a way to shift emphasis from
day services which host social activities to those which provide
genuine vocational pursuits.
report also suggests that more day care services be run by users/ex-users
and for service commissioners to explore additional funding sources,
such as from the Learning and Skills Council and regeneration budgets.
report also stated that traditional day services fail gay people,
ethnic minorities and the disabled.
some notable exceptions, day services often fail to meet the needs
of the diverse populations that they serve,” read the report.
particular, they may fail to meet the needs of, and be under-used
by, people from minority ethnic communities, women, younger people
and older people, and they may not provide services that are sensitive
to religion, sexuality and disability."
The four new sets of government guidance for service commissioners
are designed to help find ways to re-integrate people with mental
health problems into society.
As well as day services, the guidance covers vocational services,
women’s only day services and direct payments.
the guidance, Winterton said providing opportunities to people with
mental health problems was a "key objective” of the government.
guidance has been drawn up following a report of the Social Exclusion
Unit in June 2004.
some campaigners feel the guidance will be ineffective without additional
Lawton-Smith, King's Fund senior policy officer for mental health,
said: "The guidance for mental health commissioners is very
welcome. However, at a time of severe financial pressures, it would
have been more welcome if it had come with some extra resources
for implementing these services.
resources put into mental health anti-stigma work are miniscule
compared to the billions of pounds that mental illness costs the
country each year."
Read for yourself:
guidance to service commissioners:
From segregation to inclusion: Commissioning guidance on day services
for people with mental health problems (pdf)
services for people with severe mental health problems: Commissioning
* Direct payments for people with mental
health problems: A guide to action (pdf)
* Supporting women into the mainstream:
Commissioning women-only community day services
28, 2004: Government launches scheme to tackle mental health stigma
Laura Davidson, ward-based mental health nurse, Aberdeen, Scotland
May 19, 2006
This article is a godsend. I am applying for the position of manager
of a mental health day centre. The centre needs re-designing and
points discussed in the article have given me food for thought and
hopefully some sound ideas that will form the basis of a radically
different day service provision, should I be appointed to the post.
Graham Peacock, voluntary administration worker, Cooltan
September 17, 2008
would like to put the view of a mental health user. On leaving hospital
in 1999, I was referred to a local day center 300 yards from where
I lived. Whilst the activities were varied; a french class, yoga,
helping in the kitchen and some computer studies; I found the atmosphere
parochial and with an excessive emphasis on time keeping. I found
the whole atmosphere rather petty and not at all geared to getting
back to work nor integrating back into the community. I left after
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