Video: City councillors back 24-hour crisis centre for Dundee following incident on Tay Bridge

Video: City councillors back 24-hour crisis centre for Dundee following incident on Tay Bridge

Dundee City Council’s leader has backed calls for a 24-hour crisis centre for people struggling with mental health problems – after admitting support services in the city “have not been good enough”.

Campaigners have previously urged public bodies in Dundee to fund and open a 24/7 mental health crisis centre in the city following previous cases of self-harm and suicide.

Members of Dundee Fighting for Fairness (DFFF) previously said people are “crying out” for a unit they can go to at times of crisis.

The parents of Lee Welsh and Dale Thomson – two young men who both took their lives after serious bouts of mental health problems and depression – have been outspoken on their support for such a facility.

The issue came to the fore again after a person was helped from the Tay Road Bridge on Thursday. The bridge has now been seen as a “crisis area” according to councillor Lynne Short – with numerous people rescued by emergency services on the bridge and surrounding area.

Ms Short is a member of the Tay Road Bridge board, and has spoken openly about her struggles with her own mental health in the past.

Speaking to the Tele in a video interview, councillor Short, who represents Maryfield, said: “The bridge staff work really, really hard to support people, and I can only thank them enough for all that support that they do give.

“It’s just really unfortunate that people in the city do see that area as being somewhere to find help.

“I recognise it, as an individual, and I’ve always found the support I’ve needed. That’s why I’ve always been very open about my struggles with my mental health, and the fact that we can talk about it nowadays.

Maryfield councillor Lynne Short spoke about the matter during a video interview.

The council leader echoed Ms Short’s views, and cited the Strang Report’s findings into mental health.

The chief executive of NHS Tayside, Grant Archibald, publicly apologised to patients, family and staff for the failings of mental health services laid bare in his damning report in February this year.

Mr Strang’s Trust and Respect report identified 51 recommendations to be implemented to improve mental health services in Tayside.

Strathmartine councillor Mr Alexander said: “The Strang Review, which was pretty hard-hitting, gave some very serious, well-thought out recommendations.

“One of the key recommendations was around this kind of idea of a support centre that was accessible to members of the public at any point in time.”

However, the council leader questioned whether the bridge would be the best place for a centre, because people may feel uncomfortable seeking help at such a visible location.

© DC Thomson
John Alexander joined the Tele for a video interview with colleague Lynne Short.

“You have to be conscious and listen to people who have real-life experience, rather than a politician saying, ‘I think it needs to be here’,” he added.

NHS Tayside was approached for comment

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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Tragedy as woman pulled from River Tay dies in Ninewells Hospital

Tragedy as woman pulled from River Tay dies in Ninewells Hospital

A young woman pulled from the River Tay on Monday has died in hospital.

The woman, who has not been named, is understood to have been in the Tay at the south side of the road bridge for around 15 minutes before she was rescued.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Around 11.35am on Monday, 10 February officers responded to a report of concern for a woman in the River Tay near Dundee.

“A 32-year-old woman was recovered from the water and taken to Ninewells Hospital where she later died.

“There are no apparent suspicious circumstances and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

A statement from Broughty Ferry lifeboat crew said: “Broughty Ferry RNLI crews responded with both lifeboats to a report of person in river near to Tay Road Bridge.

“The call came in via coastguard at 11.37am. By 12pm the first lifeboat had arrived on scene to find the casualty had been removed from the water on to a local work boat.

“The casualty was then transferred to the all-weather lifeboat where crews provided emergency care during rapid transfer to lifeboat station, where the casualty was passed into the care of waiting ambulance crews.”

The spokesman said the conditions for the crew were difficult during the rescue.

He added: “This was a difficult rescue and the crew are all understandably subdued.”

The statement continued: “If you are worried about something or know somebody who needs help but don’t know how to approach things then call Breathing Space on 0800 838587.”

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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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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