Deep concern expressed over mental health beds drop in Tayside

The Carseview Centre.

“Deep concern” has been expressed over a 10% drop in acute mental health beds across Tayside over the past five years.

The number of beds for men and women dropped from 99 in 2013 to 90 last year.

Health chiefs said the reduction was due to a reconfiguration in Perth and the interim relocation of the Mulberry Unit in Angus to the Carseview Centre and insisted most patients were now treated in the community.

However, Angus MP Kirstene Hair is seeking a reassurance from NHS Tayside that the numbers will not fall any further.

She said a total of 44 beds were likely to be relocated from Murray Royal Hospital and the Mulberry Unit at Stracathro in Angus as part of a shake-up of mental health care, while a similar number will be set up in Dundee at Ninewells Hospital.

But she added: “This research finds that the number of beds for a growing problem is reducing anyway – which is of deep concern.

“There needs to be a reassurance from NHS Tayside this number will not shrink any more.”

Conservative MP Ms Hair said she was also concerned that there are no eating disorder beds locally, meaning people are still having to go to Aberdeen for specialist treatment.

“It’s my concern and that of many of my Angus constituents that local health services are disappearing in the background,” she added.

“It is only huge change, such as ward closures, which makes people sit up and take notice.”

Closure of the Mulberry ward at Stracathro Hospital has been identified as the preferred option in a programme to address what officials have described as an unsustainable model for mental health care across the region.

Perth and Kinross integration joint board will have the final say on the package next week.

The move is likely to mean the axe for the Angus unit while general adult psychiatry acute care will be provided from four wards at Dundee’s Carseview Centre, along with learning disability inpatient services from three wards at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth.

Chief officer for Perth and Kinross health and social care partnership Robert Packham said only around 6% of people who access mental health services each year need hospital care.”

He acknowledged there had been a small reduction in the number of acute general adult psychiatry beds in the last five years, adding: “This is due to the reconfiguration of Moredun Ward at Murray Royal into separate male and female environments, and the interim relocation of the Mulberry Unit to the Carseview Centre.

“We have also been redesigning services to adapt to the changing needs of our populations and new services have been introduced to manage people in crisis and support people to remain at home,” said Mr Packham.

“Our communities would expect treatment to be available to them and their families when it is required and we remain committed to ensuring our patients can access the best treatment in the most appropriate place.”


Link to Courier article here 

Perfectionism is destroying the mental health of my millennial generation

It began at school, with A-star expectations and a horror of failure. Now we’re on social media platforms, locked into a game of mutually assured depression
Secondary school pupils take exam
 ‘I’m part of a generation that has been conditioned to seek out metrics. We crave grades, and we long to know how well we’re performing 


During many job interviews, it’s common to be asked: “What’s your biggest weakness?” It’s a horrible question to respond to on the spot. We know it’s a trick, and the answer isn’t: “Sometimes it takes me more than two hours to stop looking at my phone and get dressed after a shower,” or: “I spend my free time constructing elaborate revenge fantasies.”

The cheat’s answer of choice, the panicky pick that puts you in a better light than the truth might, is along the lines of: “I’m a perfectionist.”

Sure, a little nervy, a little obsessive, but ultimately a detail-oriented workaholic who will not leave the office until the project is completed to the highest possible standard.

However, if you’re a millennial (broadly defined as anyone aged between 18 and 35), there’s a good chance that perfectionism really is your biggest weakness.

A study published by Thomas Curran and Andrew P Hill found the majority of respondents were experiencing “multidimensional perfectionism”, or the pressure to meet increasingly high standards, measured by a widening collection of metrics. The study linked this with the growing number of cases of mental illness among people in their 20s, including eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Perfectionism is a weakness. It’s making us ill.

It’s easy to blame social media for this. The study found that a lot of the perfectionism centred around the participants’ need to “measure up” to their peers, and that they tended to judge others harshly, too.

Anyone with an Instagram account can probably relate to this. We’re coming towards the end of a decade in which we’ve been encouraged to think of our public life as a performance instead of a participation exercise. We know how it feels to envy other people and their celebrations, achievements and holidays, and that our craving for validation leads to feelings of isolation.

Justin Rosenstein, the engineer who created the Facebook “like” button, described a “like” as “bright dings of pseudo-pleasure”, and he has rationed his own social media use, comparing Snapchat to heroin.

We know the way we use social media isn’t good for us.So why are we millennials so susceptible to its lure?

I believe that for many of us, the problem started at school. In 1992, Ofsted was launched as a way of nationalising school inspections and ensuring that students throughout the country were taught and looked after to a high standard. Later that decade, there was a push to encourage a greater number of young people to go to university – as many as 50%, compared with 3.4% of school leavers in 1950.

Broadly speaking, this was a brilliant thing, making life fairer and giving millions of young people the chance to fulfil their potential and access brand new opportunities. Yet I suspect that was also the point where the pressure started to mount. The number of tests, exams and ways of measuring performance increased. It wasn’t enough to aim for an A: we had to shoot for the A-star.

The year between GCSEs and A-levels was occupied by an extra exam, the AS level, and we were told that the competition for university places was so great that we needed to stand out by choosing extra subjects. At my school, the joke was that we called them “mocks”, because you could mock the girls who hyperventilated over them, or fainted with stress – you were meant to keep your anxiety powder dry for the real, terrifying deal. Because it was easy to convince ourselves that, if we got a B, our lives would be over before they had begun.

I’m part of a generation that has been conditioned to seek out metrics. We crave grades, and we long to know how well we’re performing compared with our peers, because this is how we grew up. When Facebook launched, initially it was available only to students – students being the perfect customers, because we were desperate for the validation it offered. We had grown up conflating our sense of our self-worth with our sense of achievement. And being on social media meant there was another target to meet, and another space in which to fear failure.

Perfectionism can allow us to aim high and achieve great things. However, perfectionists are doomed to failure, because we set ourselves standards that are not attainable for humans. We will never meet our goals, to the detriment of our mental health and wellbeing. When we go online, we’re surrounded by platforms that appear to be full of other people meeting these goals. Intellectually, we know it’s all a lovely lie, but emotionally it’s a struggle. Feelings seem like facts.

We need to protect future generations from perfectionism, and recognise that it’s not an advantage masquerading as a weakness. It’s destroying us, and making us desperately sad. I hope the new research inspires us all to check our perfectionist tendencies, and focus on our health and happiness instead. Perfection is a myth, but it can destroy us in ways that are all too real.


Link to Guardian article here