A LEADING councillor has claimed Channel 4’s controversial Blackpool documentary shows how important mental health care is – and why budgets cannot be slashed any further.
The latest instalment of TV’s 999: What’s Your Emergency? showed police officers and paramedics spending large chunks of their time dealing with problems such as schizophrenia and alcoholism.
A police officer on the show complained he sometimes felt “more like a social worker”.
Kath Rowson (pictured), cabinet member for adult social care at Blackpool Council, felt the scenes highlighted the importance of proper care for those who need it.
She said: “I hope the programme made people realise the problems not only facing the emergency services but the council in these very bleak economical times.
“We are giving as much support to people with mental health issues as we possibly can.
“We spend roughly £10m a year and work closely with the NHS jointly providing services for people with everything from severe mental health problems to those recovering.
“But like everybody else, we are feeling the pinch and we could do more if we had the money.
“Unfortunately in the last two years Blackpool has had to make £40m in savings and it is only going to get worse.
“We are fighting to protect our mental health service from cuts because the Channel 4 programme showed how badly it is needed.
“I sympathise with the police and paramedics who feel like social workers, but our staff are doing an incredibly good job under difficult circumstances.”
The first port of call for someone with a mental health issue is their GP.
However, for more severe problems the council has emergency teams available 24/7 on a day-to-day basis and offers residential care, including respite and crisis beds.
Anyone who has mental health problems or wishes to discuss an issue can contact the Mental Health helpline on 0500 639 000, a free and confidential service provided by the Lancashire Care NHS Trust.