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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Suicide prevention plan to be launched in Dundee

Suicide prevention plan to be launched in Dundee

A new suicide prevention initiative will be launched in Dundee after findings showed the city has the highest rate of people taking their own lives in Tayside and Fife.

Poverty and welfare reform have been cited as one of several contributing factors in the city, which is infamous for having one of the highest numbers of benefit sanctions in Scotland.

The Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan would bring the city council, NHS, emergency services and specialist mental health services more closely together to work on preventing deaths.

It will be under consultation until April and is expected to be endorsed by the Dundee Integration Joint Board in June.

An investigation carried out between 2013 and 2017 showed 131 people died by suicide in the city in that time.

The rate of 19 per 100,000 population was significantly higher than the Scottish average of 13.5.

Males in Dundee have the second highest mean rate of suicide in Scotland.

A report compiled by the Tayside Multi-Agency Review Group, set up in 2016 to investigate the issue, said: “Scotland continues to have a higher suicide rate than the rest of the UK mainland and there is a strong association between suicide and socio-economic deprivation.

“A number of cases have highlighted the impact of issues around benefits in potentially contributing to local suicide deaths.”

Concerns have also been raised about ambulance staff having no access to mental health records when dealing with emergencies, unlike the police.

The findings come a year after Tayside’s most senior police officer said tackling mental health challenges was the force’s greatest challenge.

Speaking at Tuesday’s Health and Social Care Partnership meeting, the committee’s chair Trudy McLeay said: “I was surprised that the ambulance service don’t have access to mental health records.

“It must be a very difficult situation, especially when dealing with an attempted suicide.”

Common factors identified in Tayside men and women who died by suicide included bereavement, a criminal history, harmful use of alcohol, adverse childhood experiences and physical health problems.

Among men, a significant number were found to have had a record of abuse perpetration, psychotic or organic brain conditions, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, a career history in the military and/or Eastern European ethnicity.

Meanwhile, a common factor specific to women was infertility.

A further report submitted to the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership raised concerns that there may not be enough funding to implement the new plan.

DWP spokesperson said: “Suicide is a highly complex issue and it’s wrong to make a link with welfare reforms.

“This report is over 300 pages long and mentions welfare reform in just one paragraph.”

 

link to Courier article here

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Thousands of mental health appointments missed every year

Thousands of mental health appointments missed every year

More than five appointments with mental health specialists are missed every day across Tayside.

On average, 2,286 mental health appointments have been missed each year since 2013.

And the no-shows are increasing, with 2,667 appointments missed in 2018 being the highest figure in the last five years.

The reasons for patients not making it to appointments after a GP referral are complicated, according to a local mental health charity.

Wendy Callander, chief executive of Wellbeing Works Dundee, said anxiety is just one of many reasons.

Wellbeing Works is the rebranded name for the Dundee Association for Mental Health, following a change last month.

Ms Callander said: “It is difficult for me to say why people miss appointments with the NHS, but we have similar examples when people are referred to us.

“They often miss their first meeting if we send them a letter inviting them in after a referral. If we reach out to someone, there is a chance they will not show.

“There’s a lot of anxiety and not knowing what to expect that causes that.

“We get referrals from a wide source of people and places.

“What is more likely to work for us is if someone comes with them — a friend or family member of support worker, for example.

“With mental health, you don’t just wake up deciding you have a problem. It can take weeks and months to creep up.

“Going to a doctor about a cough can provide anxiety, so if it’s about mental health that can be even worse.”

While understanding how difficult it can be for someone with mental health issues to  reach out for help, Wendy insists it is worthwhile.

She added: “It’s a huge problem.

“NHS are telling us about missed appointments and they are trying to address that particular issue.

“Wellbeing wants to resolve the issues because the help is there, but if people aren’t able to get to it then they’re not getting the benefit.

“One problem is people not knowing what to say to a GP, but there is nothing you can tell them that they haven’t heard before.”

NHS Tayside does not report reasons for why appointments have been missed, as most of the time it is not known.

Missed GP appointments for all ailments cost the health board £277,000 in just one week last year.

At the time, NHS Tayside estimated that one in 10 GP appointments are wasted every week.

 

link to Courier article here

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Second charity football match in aid of young Dundee dad Lee, who took his own life

Second charity football match in aid of young Dundee dad Lee, who took his own life

Lee Welsh

 

link to Evening Tele article here 

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Mental health readmission rate rising in Tayside

Mental health readmission rate rising in Tayside

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Grieving mum still seeking answers 11 years after son died at Dundee’s Carseview Centre

Grieving mum still seeking answers 11 years after son died at Dundee’s Carseview Centre

Wilma is still heartbroken over the loss of her son Gavin (left)

Link to Evening Tele article here 

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