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Aspire Mental Healthcare is to open a third facility in Derbyshire, providing much needed supported living accommodation for the elderly and those with learning disabilities in the area.

Bromley House, the former Grade II listed HSBC building, has been acquired by Aspire and will be converted to ten single-bed apartments with an onsite day centre. The project is scheduled for completion this summer.

The move follows the success of Aspire facilities Chilwell House in Ilkeston and Riverside Gardens in Sandiacre, an £800,000 purpose-built facility for people suffering from mental illness, which was fully occupied within weeks of opening in October last year.

According to Dr. Bakaltchev, there is already keen interest in the available apartments, which will also create new jobs for care staff.

Commenting on the success of the Aspire Mental Health Care project, Dr Bakaltchev said:

“There is strong demand for supportive living environments for vulnerable people across Derbyshire and beyond. The NHS is struggling to cope with the long-term support some of their patients require, too often resulting in relapse and readmission to hospital, creating further costs on the public purse. Our success has been based on providing the ongoing support necessary to treat and rehabilitate people, enabling them to recover and lead satisfying, productive lives while saving costs for the NHS.”

The next project is already in view for Aspire, with plans to open a fourth facility in Long Eaton in December this year, which will include 12 assisted living apartments and 12 bed residential care facility for clients with challenging behaviour.

This week, David Cameron has put mental health at the top of the political agenda, following a ‘damning’ report by an NHS England Taskforce that found around 25% of the population will suffer mental health issues at some time in their lives and yet 75% of people with mental health problems received absolutely no support.  The report suggested this shameful shortfall of care leads to "thousands of tragic and unnecessary deaths"
The Prime Minister called for the nation to focus on mental health and committed an extra £1bm spend a year by 2020, which he says will help treat a million people a year.  
However, there is no extra money over and above the £8.4bn already promised to the health service, so is this announcement just ‘spin’ or will things really change?
One thing is for sure, the report and the storm of news around it will have raised awareness of the problem with mental health care. Namely it is, and long has been, the poor relation to physical health care, as David Cameron admitted.
Currently, even those who do receive treatment are left without sufficient support after hospital discharge. Hospitals need the beds, so patients are discharged into the community, then families can’t cope, resulting in patient relapse and readmission – and so the cycle goes on.
That’s why Aspire established first Chilwell House in Ilkeston as a treatment, recovery and rehabilitation centre, followed by Riverside Gardens in Sandiacre to provide supported living and skills enablement for mental health sufferers in Derbyshire.
These purpose designed environments provide holistic support and, where required, therapy aimed at full recovery and rehabilitation back into the community and back into work.
Some people may point at the cost to the NHS of such care, and yet, the cost implications of not providing support are much high – never mind the cost in terms of ruined human lives.
Where support is not provided post hospital discharge, patients almost invariably relapse and require further care in hospital, which incurs more cost. Or where they remain at home without support, often there are issues around neglect or abuse, at which point social services becomes involved – more cost.
Those with more serious problems can end up on the streets, worsening their condition and increasing their chances of being drawn into crime. Clearly, prison is not the right place for those with mental health issues and – guess what – it’s a high cost on the public purse.
Our aim is to break the downward spiral – and to save the government money. A commitment to spend more on treatment is very welcome, but a focus on longer term support and rehabilitation is crucial too.
The government spend on mental health is currently £9.2bn a year. The cost to the economy is estimated to be £105bn. You do the math.
Time to Chance logoAccording to a Time to Change campaign supported by British celebrity and mental wellness champion Stephen Fry, it looks like a stock image of a person with their head in their hands – something the charity hopes to change.

Anybody who has experience with mental health issues can tell you why these images are harmful. It is the relationship between ‘headclutcher’ images and mental illness that facilitates the silence of so many, reducing a vast, complex range of experiences to one simple ‘correct’, stereotyped, response.

Sadly, it is all too hard for many individuals living with mental health conditions to express their inner struggles in such an open way. Fear of being stigmatized, or labelled, means that the sunniest person you know, could also be the most at risk person in your life too.

In response to the ubiquitous ‘head-in-hands’ image, Time To Change is not only compiling an image bank of more representative photos (free to download here), they are also asking for personal images where the subject is smiling, but felt they were falling apart inside. The aim is to open people’s eyes to the subtleties and complications of living with mental illness, and to dispel the myth that every issue amounts to the same emotional response.

Get the Picture is about more than using more accurate imagery, it’s about educating the public in hopes that not only will people suffering feel more able to ask for help, but so their loved ones feel more able to ask if they need it – even if they haven’t got their head in their hands.
See some of the pictures alongside their accompanying stories here.