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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Tay Road Bridge chiefs pledge to tackle rising number of emergency incidents but warn against structural changes

Tay Road Bridge chiefs pledge to tackle rising number of emergency incidents but warn against structural changes

 

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Tay Road Bridge walks for new Dundee mental health group to be held twice a week

The group of walkers heading off to raise awareness
A walk across the Tay Road Bridge in support of people suffering from mental issues was so successful it’s going to be held twice a week.

One of the organisers, Ash Mullen, said eight people took part in last night’s walk and many more were promising to take part in future walks.

Ash and her friend Paula O’Neill organised the walk as part of their Let’s Talk Tayside campaign.

The two student nurses have formed the group in a bid to get people talking about their mental health concerns.

Ash said: “We thought the walk would be a good idea to highlight the number of people who go to the bridge when they are feeling suicidal.

“Paula and myself are overwhelmed with the support we have received so far.

“We now plan to hold the walk twice weekly and would love as many people as possible to join us.

“We are very proud of what the people of Dundee are doing to help themselves and others. More than 2,000 people have now joined our group in just a week.

“We want Dundee to become known for how supportive we are of our own communities.”

The next walk will be held next Tuesday.

 

Link to Tele article here 

Link to Let’s Talk Tayside  here 

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