Tributes paid to hugely talented Dundee junior footballer Ryan Blair, 25, after sudden death

Ryan Blair, 25, while playing for Broughty Athletic


Courier article can be found here 


More than 90,000 people in Tayside on mental health medication, as plans to improve services revealed by health board

More than 90,000 people in Tayside on mental health medication, as plans to improve services revealed by health board

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

‘It’s going to be a hard time’ – Mental health campaigners fear for socially-distanced Christmas

‘It’s going to be a hard time’ – Mental health campaigners fear for socially-distanced Christmas

Mental health experts in Dundee are urging city residents to stay connected this coming winter.

With Saturday marking World Mental Health Day, Wellbeing Works said the prospect of households not being able to mix indoors would have greater impact in the colder months.

As a result, people across Dundee are being urged to get outdoors – and take advantage of every opportunity to walk and talk with friends.

A recent YouGov survey revealed that more than eight in ten adults across Scotland have already experienced stress because of the pandemic.

And, although Scotland is not embarking on a new lockdown similar to that enforced during the  first wave of the pandemic, cases of Covid-19 are again rising, leading to fears that more restrictions could be heading our way.

Social distancing and a ban on households mixing indoors, coupled with uncertainty over job security had already had a marked negative effect in Dundee, said Wendy Callander executive director of Wellbeing Works.

She said: “One concern which we’ve been focusing on is people’s worries about losing jobs and their income, and the impact that has on people when it comes to paying their bills.

© Courtesy Matteo Bell
Wendy Callander, Executive Director for Wellbeing Works.

“Another concern is for people who were already having issues with their mental well-being, and it seems like the biggest thing for them is just that they miss people.

“For a lot of them, being with family and friends keeps them well, it gives them a reason to get up in the morning and taking that away is always going to cause problems.”

Wendy also claimed that the holiday season, which is already a tough time for people who suffer from issues such as depression or anxiety, will be even tougher this year.

She said: “Anyone who celebrates Christmas is is already thinking to themselves that this is not good.

“I think that by the time we get to Christmas we will have had nine months of not being close with the people we care about, and for many it will be the icing on a pretty horrible cake.”

© Courtesy Matteo Bell
Wendy Callander, Executive Director for Wellbeing Works.

She added: “It is really hard for a lot of people to get their heads around it, and the other thing which doesn’t help is the confusion over messages, people are really struggling to understand what is going on.

“The best advice we can give people is just to stay in contact. Although you can’t visit people at home you can still meet up for coffee or go for a walk with a friend.

“We’ve been encouraging walking sessions, where you can get together and talk about what’s on your mind while you walk with someone.

“I think we all need to appreciate and understand that it’s okay to feel anxious, worried and scared, especially at this time of year.”

According to the YouGov survey, nearly four in ten people who had experienced stress because of the pandemic said that maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as sleeping well and eating healthily, had helped them cope.

Four in ten people (41 per cent) said that doing a hobby was helpful.

Professor Tine Van Bortel, from the University of Cambridge and De Montfort University Leicester, said: “There’s a growing body of strong research evidence about the determinants of our health and wellbeing.

“That is replicated by our findings. Access to nature and safe green spaces, positive social contacts, healthy lifestyles and meaningful activities are all crucial, for us to function well.”

Phil Welsh, a local mental health campaigner who lost his son to suicide in 2017, warned that a socially-distanced winter will be difficult for many people.

Phil Welsh with a picture of his son, Lee.

He said: “It’s going to be a hard time.

“It’s coming up to those darker nights, and with that and the cold many people are going to be stuck inside.

“It’s really difficult to predict what will happen, but it’s definitely a concern.

“I think that, coming up to the festive season, a lot of people are going to blatantly ignore this advice because they’re going to want to see their families and friends for the holidays.

“It’s a pretty damning thought that a lot of people are going to be stuck, sitting on their own at home for Christmas.”


Link to Evening Telegraph article here

Wife of local footballer hopes his death will shed light on men’s mental health problems

Wife of local footballer hopes his death will shed light on men’s mental health problems

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

The Dean Wallace Show.

The Dean Wallace Show.

The Welsh Family Dealing with the Suicide of their Son Lee – Not in Vain for Lee

Tonight at 8pm I will have Big Welshy (Phil), Lesley & Kirsty on the Show!These guys tragically lost a beautiful son & an amazing brother Lee 3 years ago to suicide!This inspiring family are coming on to tell their personal story & share some special stories about Lee as well as the struggles he went through in his life.This along with what they are up to now & campaigning to get a Crisis Centre set up right here in Dundee.This has actually been planned for a few weeks & I didn’t even realise it was landing right in & around this time!I’ve know these guys & Lee from I was just a wee laddie growing up on the Tap O’ the Hull & it’s an honour to have them on & really try to share their message & help save lives ❤️🙏🏼❤️

Posted by The Dean Wallace Show on Monday, 14 September 2020

A drastic overhaul of mental health support remains the key to reducing the number of attempted suicides on the Tay Road Bridge, it has been claimed.

There has been a spate of incidents on the crossing recently, with the bridge being closed by police after reports of concern for a person just after 3am earlier this week.

In another incident, a body was recovered from the Tay after a man was seen entering the water from the bridge.

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said more must be done for people struggling with their mental health before they reach crisis point.

He said: “The reality is, the bridge isn’t the issue.

“Mental health services, and making sure adequate support is there for people who find themselves in crisis, is the issue.

“We have to ask ourselves, why are people presenting themselves at the bridge and why are people – in some instances – jumping off the bridge? And are they receiving the right support?

“In many cases, the answer will be ‘no’.

“And that is fundamentally the crux of it – we’ve got to get better at providing the right services at the right time, to intervene and support people to save their lives.

“That’s what’s going to make the difference to saving people’s lives.

“The bridge, unfortunately, is just one way in which a negative experience manifests itself.

“And, if it wasn’t the bridge, it might well be something else.”

In July, Health Improvement Scotland said it had found “significant concerns” with adult mental health community services in Dundee.

Campaigners such as Phil Welsh, whose son Lee took his own life in 2017, are among those who have called for a 24/7 crisis centre.

Mr Alexander reiterated his backing for such a facility, as well as other measures which may discourage people from accessing the bridge.

© DCThomson John Alexander.

He said: “It’s just not about physical things like barriers and netting, there are other things.

“It’s about more than having messages and support available on the bridge – such as if people can pick up a phone and call someone.

“It is making sure people know there is support available and they are valued, and that isn’t what they need to do and where they need to be.

“I’ve been asked previously about things like a crisis centre, and I think those types of initiatives are going to make far more of a difference than netting, or fencing or whatever it might be.”

The ongoing issue will be discussed at a meeting of the bridge board on Monday.


Link to Evening Telegraph article here