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Schizophrenia sufferer 'filled with dread' by health cuts

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A MOTHER with debilitating mental health problems has credited a Purley support centre with saving her life.

Sarah Jane Thomas, of Beulah Grove, Thornton Heath, spoke to the Advertiser about living with schizophrenia and the support she receives from the Purley Resource Centre.

She said: "I am not being dramatic when I say the centre has saved my life on a number of occasions.

"I have frequent periods where I am suicidal and there is no getting out of the cycle. It's like falling and falling – and then they are there to catch me."

Ms Thomas had her first psychotic episode in 1997 while she was still working, and gradually became more ill.

She moved to the Purley centre in Pampisford Road in 2011, after suffering bad experiences with previous support centres.

"I've been with them for two years now I can't tell you what the care is like," she said.

"They go above and beyond what they need to do all the time.

"I have been so ill in the past I have lain down in the middle of the road – I don't know what I'm thinking or doing. At one point, I even thought I could fly.

"These are the things the centre saves me from by trying to prevent me getting in that state.

"It's like living in your worst nightmare – you see, hear and smell things that aren't there – and it's terrifying because you think you can never escape.

"People often don't take mental illness seriously but it really is not something to joke about."

Ms Thomas suffers from schizoaffective disorder which is characterised by bouts of psychosis and extreme mood swings, meaning she has not been able to work for more than a decade.

The centre is part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust which specialises in mental health.

"Everyone complains about the NHS or are worried that parts of it will be cut, especially the social care side.

"I can only say how wonderful it is at the centre and it fills me with dread to hear people say budgets need to be cut.

"I had a crisis this morning, another cycle breakdown and my psychiatrist was there immediately at the end of the phone to talk me down.

"He told me I was doing well despite it. It's difficult to explain how important that is – it's now so foreign for people to be nice to me."

If you have mental health problems and are seeking support, call the centre on 020 3228 5400.

Schizophrenia sufferer 'filled with dread' by health cuts


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