A Greenwich charity which helped thousands of people with mental health problems has been saved from the brink of a financial collapse they were trying to keep secret from the council.

Greenwich Mind’s financial state was a disaster coming into 2017, making significant losses year on year and had debts of more than £100,000 by August last year.

A startling report last year revealed the scale of the financial problems, including that people who used the service were aware of the looming problems but didn’t let Greenwich Council know until that year.

From 2011 to 2017, the charity made a loss of over £100,000 for five of the six years, often having an expenditure up to 50 per cent higher than its income. In 2015-16, Greenwich Mind’s income was £400,000 while its expenditure was £700,000.

Greenwich Mind serves more than 3,500 people in the borough providing vital medical services for people with mental health problems, including issues like schizophrenia or bipolar disorders.

A “chaotic” closure was on the cards, with therapists who worked with the charity saying it would be “horrendous” for the area if it shut its doors for good as these people would be left on the streets with little to no care.

However at the last minute a saviour arrived. On March 26 this year, staff and contracts from Greenwich Mind were transferred to Bromley and Lewisham Mind to merge the organisations.

Moves to merge Greenwich Mind with the more financially sound Lewisham and Bromley charity started in September 2017, soon after the scale of financial problems were made clear.

The counselling services provided by Greenwich Mind will return, including crisis counselling and long-term counselling specifically for Asian, African and Caribbean communities.

Ben Taylor, chief executive of Bromley, Lewisham & Greenwich Mind, said: “We are really pleased to have completed this merger, which has secured a future for some highly valued support services for with people with mental health problems in Greenwich.

“We look forward to working with people who use the services, our funders in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Greenwich Clinical Commissioning Group and with other local organisations to deliver and develop the mental health support available into the future.”