A NEW resource centre will help people in Halton who suffer from mental health problems.
The centre in Widnes Road, Widnes, has been provided following a restructuring of social services in the borough.
It will be used by staff from the 5Boroughs Partnership - which deals with mental health issues - and workers from the council's social services and housing departments.
The mental health charity MIND will occupy the ground floor and provide a daytime service.
There will also be a canteen and dining facilities to provide training opportunities for the mentally ill, an information room and a library with Internet access.
A Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) in the building will have nurses and social workers working together to provide support to people with severe mental health problems and their carers.
Staff hope mentally ill people will get a more efficient service at the centre than GPs can provide.
Graham Nolan, principal manager for mental health in Runcorn, said: 'My objectives for mental health services are to provide more comprehensive and joined-up services for users and carers across the board. I would also like to see closer links with primary care and services that provide support for families concerning drugs and mental health.'
His counterpart in Widnes, Terry Cory, added: 'My first impressions were that Halton has the potential to go far with the help of the Primary Care Trust and the health service. All the staff I have met are enthusiastic and keen to see Halton move forward in how we support the local community.
'The new resource centre in Widnes is an indication that services are going in the right direction. It just goes to show how much you can achieve with potential and investment.'
Pat Tyrrell, Halton's executive board member for health and social care, added: 'Barriers are often put up in society about mental health because people attach a negative stigma.
'Mental health is a very wide reaching bracket that involves people of all ages and all kinds of illness, including post natal depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder - all of which have nothing to do with illnesses of a psychotic nature.'