Mind the gap

A local mental health charity in Edmonton is working hard to fill the gap left by cuts to public spending, writes Andrew Gurr

Mind in Enfield office
Wellbeing Centre staff Suhayla Greenwood, counselling administrator; Debbie Bots, counsellor; and Sufia Rahman, wellbeing service activities worker; outside the Mind in Enfield office in Fore Street, Edmonton

Mind in Enfield has held a special place among the borough’s charities for more than 40 years, with a mission to promote and improve the mental and social wellbeing of local people.

The charity challenges the stigma and isolation people suffering from mental health difficulties may face, and provides person-centred services which are consistent with the charity’s vision of a local community where everybody enjoys greater mental wellbeing.

The chair of Mind in Enfield, Laurane Till, said an experience she had a month ago reminded her of just how crucial the service is to the community. “Early one morning I came to our headquarters in Fore Street and found a youngish man huddled in the doorway in a state of acute distress,” she said.

“The documents he showed me made it clear that he had been moved from one agency to another without getting any reassurance about a place to sleep or means to eat. He was at the end of his tether.

“I brought him into our café for a cup of tea and saw how our magnificent staff swung into action to help him. Carol and Martine made him welcome; Sufia put aside personal commitments she had to chat with him and find out his problems; and Petronella, the head of our advocacy team, saw him and gave him the sympathetic advice which enabled him to see a way through.

“We know that thousands of people in Enfield face similar problems. Public expenditure cuts and the introduction of Universal Credit are making them worse. That experience demonstrated to me that we are vital in giving hope and confidence to people with mental health issues. That amounts to a tremendous contribution to the common good of Enfield.”

One immediate initiative Mind in Enfield is planning is the provision of advice on how to avoid debt and on dealing with debt for people with mental health issues. Mind in Enfield is also the front-door access point of Enfield Connections, working as a delivery partner for the information and advice service.

Laurane says it is “a strong and friendly working relationship” with Enfield Connections. She adds: “The signposting service we are providing is working well for the benefit of the whole community.”

For more information about Mind in Enfield:
Call 020 8887 1480