NOT enough is being done to support people living with mental health problems, according to mental health campaigners and charity workers.

Campaigner Jonny Benjamin, 29, visited Basildon's Mind charity shop, in East Walk, as a new report revealed about £1billion of investment is needed to improve mental health services by 2020/2021.

It comes nine months after the Valerie Lodge drop-in centre, in Pitsea High Road, which was run by Mind, was forced to close because of cuts to its funding.

Mark Dale, from Basildon Disability Equality Forum, which promotes better mental health care in the borough, said he is sceptical about the proposed funding.

According to the NHS report, the money will be used to ensure people with mental health problems have access to support and care.

An estimated 600,000 more people are expected to get help through the reforms.

Mr Dale said: “I welcome any investment in care for people with mental health, however this is planned for five years’ time.

“We have people in Basildon who need help right now.

We have seen a lot of cut backs in mental health services and we need more services and funding.

“Basildon lost Valerie Lodge, which was a drop-in centre that was a vital service.

I think we need bigger and better hospital facilities to care for mental health patients.

“I am sceptical about the new plans and investment because we have heard it all before and we have had all this promised in the past.”

The NHS investment is also expected to help an extra 280,000 people with mental health issues get better support for physical health problems.

Mr Benjamin, 29, from north London, agrees that more needs to be done.

He said: “I have been living with mental health problems since about 2007.

“There is not enough help, support or care out there for people with mental health and this is something I have experienced.

“I started my campaign to raise awareness of mental health and what we need to do about the issue.

“About 75 per cent of people with mental health issues don’t get the treatment, help and support they need.

“Sometimes it can just be as simple as reassuring someone everything will be OK and they can get better and things will improve.”

THE former manager of Valerie Lodge said more care in the community is needed for people.

Pauline Berry, 49, who now runs the Mind charity shop, in East Walk, Basildon, said there had been too many cuts to vital services.

She said: “There is not enough care in the community for people with mental health problems. When Valerie Lodge closed we lost a valuable service. It meant the people who used to go to centre for help and support had nowhere else to go.

“Some of these people would have only left the house to come to our sessions, we were just there for people when and if they needed us.

“The centre was comfort for them.

“Now people come to the Mind shop in the town centre for help and support, but not very many, and I wonder where those people are now.

“I haven’t read the report, but we do need funding in the mental health service to help improve services.”

The wellbeing centre, which ran a range of activities and support groups, welcomed more than 300 visitors every month.

A campaign was launched to try to save the facility after NHS funding changes were announced, but it was unsuccessful.