Community: Nimbyism keeps out mentally ill

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The Independent Online
Fear of the mentally ill as axe-wielding maniacs who threaten public safety is fuelling the growth of the "not in my back yard' syndrome, according to a survey. Two out of three mental health organisations who have tried to set up projects to help people with mental problems such as depression have run into opposition from local communities anxious to protect house prices, children's safety and the "local atmosphere". Buildings have been daubed with graffiti, windows broken and patients and staff attacked.

The survey of 119 organisations, commissioned by the mental health pressure group Mind, found more than half had been forced to delay projects and a number had been closed or abandoned. Most said opposition had increased over the last five years. Yet in every case where projects had gone ahead, opposition faded as soon as they opened. Jeremy Laurance