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Mind Spa to shut? Mental health centre that runs Outcome service for Islington LGBTQ+ people threatened with closure

PUBLISHED: 17:24 09 August 2018

Islington Town Hall. Picture:Ken Mears

Islington Town Hall. Picture:Ken Mears

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A mental health drop-in centre for LGBTQ+ people could close – and users are “deeply worried” by the uncertainty.

The Mind Spa, off Crouch Hill, runs a service called Outcome every Tuesday from 10.30am to 4.00am and offers therapy and a socialising space for LGBTQ+ people.

But central government cuts mean the council must save £30,000 to stay within its day centres budget, and The Mind Spa – as first reported by the Gazette in June – is one of two centres that could close.

One Outcome user, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “There is nothing like this centre. It’s a social club where people can just completely be themselves. It’s like having a family and many of us have been rejected by our families.”

Another user said the centre was a safe space because it looked like a normal building from the outside, allowing people to come and go without “fear of being outed” or exposed to homophobia.

There are four mental health centres in the borough but Outcome is the only service run by and for the LGBTQ+ community.

Suze Lee, vice chair of Islington Borough User Group – a watchdog run by people who have accessed local mental health services – said: “There is a serious concern that, if forced to, many members will not go to a general use drop-in and will become ‘lost’ to services, resulting in great suffering and possibly leading to more use of acute and crisis services – which tend to be very expensive.

“Outcome users are deeply worried, and many spoke [during a meeting with the user group] about their anxiety about losing a service that has supported them in the community. It is already having a negative impact on their mental health.”

Islington Council held a consultation in June and will make a final decision in October.

Health and wellbeing boss Cllr Janet Burgess said: “At a time of huge, ongoing cuts from government, we’re having to look very carefully at many services, including how we provide mental health day services.

“We will now carefully consider all comments that have been made, and make sure all people can still access safe services free from abuse and hate crime.”

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