THE leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council has spoken out about efforts to improve mental health care provision in the area.
Julian Mott was among a group of 70 people who crammed into Cafe Zen, in High Street, Burton, for a meeting organised as part of a bid to come up with a solution to issues in the town that stem from the closure of the Margaret Stanhope Centre.
As a result, a campaign has been launched to install a 'safe space' in the area that people who fall ill with mental issues could to go to in an emergency.
Councillor Mott spoke to the Mail about his thoughts on the idea and the issue of mental health in the area.
He said: "The event was so well attended.
"It was standing room only and I think that this goes to show what a big, important issue this is to the people of Burton.
"It was good to see so many people and, hopefully, it can lead to some changes being made."
The closure of the Margaret Stanhope Centre, an inpatient psychiatric facility, in 2012 sent shockwaves through the town.
The safe space plan would see a 'safety net' service set up to catch people who were not well enough to access other forms of mental health support.
Dr Matt Long, one of the organisers of the campaign, said: "Safe space would not cater for those under section who need to be hospitalised according to the law, but would offer short-term residential care for a number of days and nights for those becoming acutely ill.
"This 'safety net' would catch people not well enough to access other forms of mental health support in our town and, hopefully, prevent them from needing to be sectioned.
"When well enough they would immediately be directed to the kind of support which can be offered to the organisations mentioned above."
The proposals have been backed across all sides of the political divide following the announcement.