A new complex to act as a one-stop-show for those with mental health difficulties will open in Moray later this year.
Health and Social Care Moray has awarded a three-year £1.2million contract to charity Penumbra to form a single-access point in Elgin.
The new mental health and wellness centre will open its doors in April as part of a redesign of services across the region for those with depression, anxiety and other conditions.
Final preparations are being made to sign a lease for premises for the new centre, which is understood to be based in Elgin’s town centre.
Lorna Cresswell, vice-chairwoman of Health and Social Care Moray, said: “Most of the mental health services are going away from the medical side to things more in the community – like involving people in groups.
“We’re also trying to prevent a lot of mental health issues from arising – the new model places a bigger emphasis on that.”
The new partnership with Penumbra and Community Renewal, who will employ link workers to liaise with GP practices, comes as a result of the retendering of the contracts, which saw the Moray Anchor Project close.
Peer workers with knowledge of managing mental health problems will be at the centre to offer insight and guidance from their own experience.
When the centre opens in April it will initially provide a service for Elgin residents before it is expanded to include the rest of the region next year.
A Penumbra spokeswoman said: “The service will be the primary source of information and advice on mental health services in Moray and will operate a walk-in service, as well as providing one-to-one and group support in the community.
“Staff at the centre will also concentrate on prevention, early intervention and education, and will support people to access a range of advice and information in other areas, such as finances, benefits, housing, employment and education.”
A spokesman for Health and Social Care Moray explained the new centre’s foundations were laid in a 10-year strategy for the region prepared last year to ensure people with mental health problems can still live life to the full.
He said: “There are many things being planned but the new wellness centre and the general practice link workers are the first of the new commissioned services to emerge.
“Funding for these services has come from redesign of existing services and also new monies allocated by the Scottish Government.”