Decision to reduce mental health centre 'abandons' sufferers

Lisa Hanna, David Phelops, Pratibha Maroo, Louise Mitchell and Mohammad Fallah outside The Bridge

Lisa Hanna, David Phelops, Pratibha Maroo, Louise Mitchell and Mohammad Fallah outside The Bridge. - Credit: LDRS

Long-term users of a mental health centre said they feel like they have been “abandoned” after cuts to its services following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Harrow Council reduced the size of The Bridge with large parts of it replaced by a community kitchen while some programmes are now only on offer for a maximum of three months.

Centre regular Lisa Hanna said: “Some people have long-term mental health illnesses, but the council doesn’t seem to understand that. Before the pandemic, you could arrive at 9.30am and leave at 4pm. Or there was a drop-in counselling service. 

“Now you get an hour a day, it has to be in groups, and we’re told we can only have access for three months at a time. We’re constantly told to ‘pull ourselves together’, but not everyone can just do that." 

Harrow Council explained the community kitchen was opened during the pandemic after in-person services at The Bridge were suspended. As lockdowns eased, it decided to keep the kitchen open, which runs a café and cookery classes alongside its food delivery service, while maintaining an area for mental health services.

A spokesperson added: “The Mental Health Service is reopening for in-person support and developing so there is an offer across the borough and there is no intention to close the centre."