SHENLEY Hospital with its forbidding walls was an intimidating institution and source of ridicule for many that misunderstood its purpose and the illnesses it treated.

Its closure nearly 20 years ago was a pivotal moment in new care in the community psychiatric initiatives.

The long, winding drive through the wrought iron gates revealed lush lawns, spacious dormitories and wings with countrified peace and tranquility, conducive to convalescence of the intricate mind.

The local village with cottages, pond and delightful Black Horse pub was only 17 miles from Wembley, but its many critics believed it archaic, regimental, cut-off geographically and ineffective.

Since then Central Middlesex Hospital has been instrumental in emotional rehabilitation with care social workers, various charitable bodies and indeed the Samaritans.

The weight of poor tortured souls, dazed with trance-like expressions shuffling the high streets cannot be viewed as an economic success in terms of balancing the books because the implications are far-reaching.

Hostels do their bit, councils shift the paperwork, while health centre day workshops interject to co-ordinate therapy as best they can in the circumstances.

Too many landlords, however, care only about their monthly rent balance than individuals' needs and neighbours quality of life.

In our apartment block alone, an elderly pensioner was plagued by abuse and harassment, courtesy of drug addicts, young offenders and prostitution parties, for several years.

Another schizophrenic tenant regularly smashed up the place, then drove off in the night in his mobility allowance car, basically left to his own devices.

A Housing Association family also became an unbearable blight.

Repercussions of long-term treatment can manifest symptoms of paranoia, memory loss, disorientation, clumsiness, confusion and worse, then inevitably police have to assist in confrontational scenarios, imposing sections.

GPs are allotted minimum appointment times per patient, so the general prognosis for mental health illnesses seems to be, keep your chin up, stiff upper lip and soldier on.

The psychological evaluations aside, the demise of controlled environments of places like Shenley has only benefitted the landlords, laughing all the way to the bank.