Peer support groups which help mentally ill people in Chesterfield are to see their funding slashed.
The groups - which help people suffering from anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia and depression - have been funded for years through the NHS.
People are going to be more ill and that cost is going to be put back onto the NHS.Adrian Rimington
However, as a result of a county wide reorganisation of services, they are now being asked to fend for themselves.
Adrian Rimington, who coordinates two such groups, said: “After these groups lose their funding, it will mean in a lot of cases people won’t have anywhere to go.
“The groups help people’s wellbeing and that helps keep them out of psychiatric units.
“For the last 22 years, the NHS has had these therapeutic groups on the cheap - but now they want it for free.”
Adrian says it costs £1,000 a week to keep someone in a psychiatric units - and that is without the cost of treatment.
“The upshot is that people are going to be more ill and that cost is going to be put back onto the NHS,” he says.
Adrian, who suffers from schizophrenia, says the groups have helped him immensely over many years.
“Because of my involvement with these groups I haven’t been admitted to a psychiatric unit since 1996.
“We will be okay because of our experience with fundraising - but many other groups will struggle to survive.”
A Rethink Mental Illness spokesperson said: “We’ve just started working county wide in Derbyshire and are in the process of looking at what needs there are and where. As part of this we are looking at support groups in the area to make sure that they are spread evenly, as before there were examples of 40 or more in one small area, and nothing in others.
“Support groups whose funding will cease will be supported to get funding elsewhere, or we will help them fundraise themselves. We appreciate that change can be unsettling, however we are really pleased to be supporting people across the county and are confident that this new model will mean that more people will be able to access the support they need.”