Mental health charity Support in Mind’s new Fife Resource Centre opened its doors in Hunter House, Kirkcaldy, two weeks ago.
And it is already proving a popular “drop-in” place for people suffering from all manner of mental health issues, from depression and stress to psychoses and schizophrenia.
The new premises, in its central, easily accessible location in Hunter Street, is an amalgamation of three Fife services – The Cottage in Cupar, Fife Hearing Voices network and Fife Family Support Project, all catering for a wide variety of needs.
Marjory Sprunt, regional manager for the new centre, explained that the reason behind the joining of them was a practical one.
“One of the main things we have realised over the years is that you can’t put people into categories as that just doesn’t work. Everyone has mental health, as well as physical health, whether it is good or poor and that can change over time, while people can also move between the type of service they require, so it made sense to have a more flexible service.
“We also believe that more and more people today are living with the impact of stress, be that through the uncertainty of their jobs, financial problems or just the pressures of daily life, and we believe at Support in Mind that we need a service to address these needs.”
And she said that moving into Hunter House had been a real bonus for the resource centre.
“This is a beautiful building which, as well as being in a great location, doesn’t feel like a traditional mental health service premises. It is bright and airy and we have a number of rooms for one to one sessions, group meetings and courses we intend to run.
“The image we are trying to promote to the public is one of mental health on the High Street, where people who may be struggling to cope with problems can come to seek help, without having to go through a complicated referral process or medical diagnosis.”
And what they will be offered through Support in Mind are behavioural strategies to help them to manage their own difficulties.
Marjory is a trained psychiatric nurse and qualified social worker, as well as a practice educator in social work with Dundee University, while her other four staff are all trained to SVQ3 level.
“I trained as an RMN then went into social work where I realised that a lot of the people we were working with had mental health problems that weren’t being addressed. I began working with Support in Mind because the services they offered were fully accessible to all people.
“We don’t ask for formal referrals – people can refer themselves, and we don’t have long waiting lists to be seen, like people can have going through the NHS.”
And she explained that people decide for themselves how long they need help.
“They may come along for three or four one-to-one sessions and think that’s enough for them, or they may need more. They may feel better for some time then need some support at a later date, and that is fine with us.”
The centre, which is run through a voluntary management board made up of carers, service members and professional advisors, covers the whole of Fife through an outreach service. It is mainly funded through Fife Council, as well as donations, and this year already it has had over 100 referrals.
“Anyone coming through our door will be made welcome,” explained Marjory. “I would sit them down and have a cuppa and get them to talk me through what their difficulties are and then suggest how we could help them. If they decide it is for them then we would make a further appointment for a one-to-one session, and take it from there. They can join our group sessions if they feel like it, but everything is dictated by them and what they want.”
The Fife service also offers support to friends and family members caring for others suffering from mental ill health, with individual as well as group support.
In the future it is intending to develop a series of short, focussed courses including a mindfulness programme, an initiative being championed through the NHS, as well as developing its volunteer programme to enable it to open on the first Saturday of each month for informal drop in sessions where people can come along to find out more.
To make an appointment call (01592) 268388 or 649785, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.supportinmindscotland.org.uk.