Suicide prevention notes make a different as Dundee mum has first success story

Suicide prevention notes make a different as Dundee mum has first success story

A young mum’s bid to bring happiness to someone’s day has had its first major success.

Sophie McCutcheon, 23, from Lochee, struggles with crippling depression and has recently set about helping others in a similar situation.

Just a couple of weeks ago Sophie launched her Love from a Stranger project,

This saw her leaving dozens of inspirational notes around Dundee for those in need.

Now Sophie has spoken out about the first message she has received from a recipient of one of her notes.

The message to Sophie was from someone who also suffers severely from depression.

It said: “I found one of your cards last week. I found it on one of my really bad days.

“I’ve kept it in my memory box to look at when I do have a dark day.

“Just to know that there are people out there that care, and that I can get through this..

“So thank you from the bottom of my heart. I took it as a sign from my loved ones up above that I can keep going.”

Sophie said: “It was incredible to receive the message.

“I  couldn’t be prouder of this achievement.

“It really warmed my heart to know that I was able to help someone who is in the same situation as my own.

“Something as small as my notes of kindness really can make a difference, and knowing that it did have such a big impact on them is the reason why I am doing this.

“I really hope they can lift the spirits of those who need them.”

Sophie’s project began as a result of her own 10-year battle with depression and anxiety.

She recently began her blog The Devious Mind which she hopes will be her own place of sanctuary that could help others.

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Tay Bridge bosses to look again at suicide prevention measures for the crossing

Tay Bridge bosses to look again at suicide prevention measures for the crossing

Tay Road Bridge bosses will look again at ways of adding suicide prevention measures to the crossing.

Councillor Stewart Hunter said he was prepared to once more raise concerns with fellow board members over people heading to the bridge in times of crisis.

The move is in response to criticism from mental health campaigner Phil Welsh, whose son Lee took his own life in 2017.

Phil Welsh with a photo of Lee.

Mr Welsh had accused bridge bosses of putting money before lives, after Tay Road Bridge chairwoman Lynne Short claimed an engineers’ report showed the “cost and inconvenience” of installing barriers was too prohibitive.

Mr Hunter, who preceded Ms Short as chairman, then wrote a letter to the Tele saying that finance “has never been a consideration with regards to adding barriers”.

He said: “The issue is that the bridge cannot support the additional weight and therefore it would compromise the integrity of the structure.”

In a letter to Mr Hunter, Mr Welsh said: “I would like to be provided with the commissioned engineering report which states that barriers cannot be put in place as this may compromise the structural integrity of the bridge.

“I would appreciate that at the next board meeting there is a very specific discussion in regard to what provision can be put in place as a means to deter people in crisis presenting themselves on the wrong side of the walkway.

“A view from engineers will simply not suffice.

“The public is demanding a commissioned survey to determine if remedial work can be carried out to strengthen the bridge, which in turn would enable physical deterrents to be installed.”

Mr Hunter said: “I will raise the issues again at the next meeting of the Tay Bridge Board.”

 

By Lindsey Hamilton

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Grieving Dundee dad accuses Tay Bridge bosses of putting a price on people’s lives

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Hundreds back petition calling for action to make Tay Road Bridge safer

Hundreds back petition calling for action to make Tay Road Bridge safer

Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for action to make the Tay Road Bridge safer for people who are thinking of ending their lives.

An online petition demanding measures are put in place to make it harder for people to consider using the bridge to take their own lives.

The Change.org petition has amassed nearly 400 signatures at time of writing, with a target of 500.

It calls for measures such as barriers to be installed in protect vulnerable people.

Michael Low started the petition after a friend took their own life.

He said: “My personal mission is to take this to the authorities.

“The fact is there needs to be higher fencing or other materials or methods to ensure that the Tay Road Bridge is no longer available in a person’s hour of distress.”

The petition has been backed by Phil Welsh, who lost his son Lee to suicide in August 2017.

Phil said: “The bridge needs to be looked at with the evidence that things like barriers can’t be put in place.

“As well as supporting the petition, I have sent a letter to the bridge board asking about protections on the bridge. I haven’t heard anything back yet.

“We’re just trying to keep the conversation going as much as we can because there’s a lot more that can be done to help people in need.

“We’ve also been campaigning for a 24-hour crisis centre, like in Edinburgh.

“I do think they should look at what can be done at the bridge, with barriers being a big one. If it is the case that they can’t put barriers in place then that’s fine, but I would like to see evidence supporting that.

“All routes should be followed before making a decision.

“The grassroots support should be there to help people before they get to that stage, but there should still be something at the bridge.”

Officials from the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board have examined such measures and ultimately decided it was not feasible to make any substantial changes to the bridge’s structure.

The bridge deck cantilevers — long beams or girders commonly used in bridge construction — would be unable to support additional barriers because of the strain windy weather would put on them, it has been claimed.

Board vice-chairman Jonny Tepp said the bridge management are actively looking at ways to make the bridge safe.

“They do their best to make themselves aware of what action can be taken,” the Liberal Democrat councillor for Tay Bridgehead said.

Dundee City Council also launched an online campaign last month highlighting where people can go for support if they are having suicidal thoughts.

If you need help, or need someone to talk to, a Samaritans volunteers can help.
Contact them on 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org.

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Families of Tayside suicide victims, including Carseview patients, wait for inquiry findings

Families of Tayside suicide victims, including Carseview patients, wait for inquiry findings

The independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside has retired to consider the key issues hampering the system’s ability to care for patients.

Launched following pressure from the families of suicide victims in Dundee, the inquiry’s evidence stage has concluded after receiving hundreds of submissions from the public.

Alongside other evidence, these will now be examined by the inquiry, chaired by former chief inspector of prisons David Strang.

Mr Strang said: “I am pleased with the response we have received to our public call for evidence. More than 200 people have submitted written documents and personal statements and there have been more than 60 oral evidence sessions held.

“Evidence has been submitted from a wide range of people including patients, families, carers, NHS employees and third-sector organisations.”

David Strang is chairing the inquiry

Agencies such as Police Scotland, student welfare teams and Dundee Drugs Misuse Commission have also contributed.

The evidence stage has taken several months, with discussions held with parties with an interest in improving mental health services.

The inquiry has visited psychiatric units including the Carseview Centre, the Rohallion Clinic and Stracathro in order to understand the systems currently in place.

The information it has gathered to date will be used to identify key issues in mental health services.

A statement from inquiry chiefs said: “The next stage of the inquiry’s work is to analyse all the data evidence, relevant government reports, statistical data, internal NHS review documents and data, in order to identify common themes which will then be the subject of further investigation and analysis.”

The inquiry was commissioned by NHS Tayside last year after campaign group Lost Souls of Dundee claimed it had identified at least 10 suicides which could have been prevented in the area.

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