More than 1,400 signatures were collected in just a few hours by campaigners who have one clear message – to keep and improve mental health services at Deal Hospital.
Members of Talk It Out, a depression help group in Deal, organised the petition and set up a stall in Deal High Street outside Marks and Spencer on Saturday.
Within five hours, a ton of signatures were collected and shops helped out too getting customers to put their name to the petition.
“A thousand signatures is brilliant. It shows how much people care about getting a fair deal - Charlie Elphicke MP”
Talk It Out founder Tracy Carr said: “It was humbling how many people stopped and told us about their battle with depression and we were able to tell them about our group. Lots of them were young people who have friends with depression.”
Many of Talk It Out’s members have used the mental health service at Deal Hospital, which includes counselling and specialist therapies, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Presently, there is not even a receptionist. They would like to see investment improve so there is a crisis team there to help suicidal people.
MP Charlie Elphicke said: “It’s fantastic that Talk It Out has started up an independent campaign to get the best possible local service at Deal Hospital.
“A thousand signatures is brilliant. It shows how much people care about getting a fair deal.”
Mr Elphicke has been a keen supporter of Talk It Out, having opened the group on its first night in September 2011.
The petition said: “We need good quality local health care and more help for mental health, dementia and conditions that affect the elderly. This campaign is for our town and all of us who live here.”
Separate fliers were distributed for those who did not have time to stop and talk.
Fliers can be handed in at the Mercury office, 13 Queen Street, Deal, before Friday, October 18.
They and the petition will be handed to Dr Darren Cocker, of the East Kent Clinical Commissioning Group.