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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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Dundee woman with ‘perfect life’ admitted to Carseview after Tay Road Bridge rescue

 

Mandy Jones
Mandy Jones

Just a year ago, Mandy Jones was married and had a career working for a marketing agency.

However, spiralling difficulties with her mental health saw the 28-year-old spend three weeks in the city’s Carseview Centre after she attempted to take her own life on the Tay Road Bridge.

Now Mandy, who lives in the West End, is using her blog The Empowered Woman Project to try to help others.

On it, she has told of her own experiences and has also invited other women to share their own.

It was during her time at the psychiatric care unit that she decided the “taboo” subject of mental health was something she wanted to tackle.

And she says her main focus is not only to help herself but to provide a platform for other women to share their experiences.

Mandy said many looking from the outside would have thought she was living a dream life.

She added: “If you looked through my social media, people probably thought I was leading the picture perfect life.

“I was married, working and had a great social group of friends.”

However, after a series of personal misfortunes, things took a turn for the worse. “My marriage had broken down and there had been an arson attempt at the block of flats where I was living in Dunblane,” she said.

“My life probably started to go on a downward spiral from there.

“I stopped showing up to work and I decided I needed a new start.”

Mandy enrolled on a personal trainer course last August at Dundee and Angus College.

She said: “I don’t think I really dealt with the two issues I’d faced in Dunblane.

“Fast forward to March this year and I was prepping for a body building show, doing my course work and it fell apart – I tried to kill myself.”

Mandy said she remembers running towards the Tay Road Bridge before being stopped by a jogger.

She added: “There was so much going on in my head. I almost felt embarrassed at the time to speak out and share my experiences – I just wanted to disappear.

“I don’t remember much, I just remember frantically running towards the bridge and a man spoke to me before the police arrived.

“I was admitted to Carseview – I don’t remember the first three days at the centre.

“I can’t thank NHS Tayside enough. The help I got there has changed my life and I was really supported by the community health team when I came out.

“Although this all happened to me in Dundee I didn’t want to leave as I felt the city had been good to me.

“I know I’m still on my own journey but I feel like a new woman and believe the Empowered Woman is giving people a platform to speak out. We’ve had women speaking about their battles with issues such as postnatal depression.

“Certainly, in speaking out I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me for the experiences I’d had.

“The project is now there to try to help others and to let them know they are important.”

Mandy said the blog has already been read by thousands of women.

And she hopes The Empowered Woman project could become a long-term career as well as inspiring people to tell their story.

She said: “I nearly wasn’t here so now I feel I need to use my voice to help others.”

*If you feel suicidal, or need someone to talk to, volunteers at the Samaritans can help. Contact their freephone number 116123, or e-mail jo@samaritans.org.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here. 

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Tay Road Bridge bosses look at ways to cut tragic death toll at river

A lifeboat under the road bridge

Tay Road Bridge chiefs are exploring new ways to try to cut the number of suicide attempts at the structure after a string of incidents in the past year.

Stewart Hunter, chairman of the road bridge board, has revealed work is ongoing to investigate ways to stop people harming themselves or ending their lives by jumping from the crossing.

The move was revealed amid concerns for a man seen falling from the bridge into the Tay on New Year’s Day. Mr Hunter said the board was looking at how other cities have addressed the issue.

He said: “We are currently undertaking research looking at what methods are used elsewhere to stop this happening.

Stewart Hunter

“We are aware other cities have adopted methods that have been successful and we are currently monitoring those.”

Mr Hunter said that in the meantime there are CCTV cameras at locations along the bridge which are monitored 24 hours a day.

Mr Hunter said: “There are trained people who monitor these cameras.

“They are obviously looking out for road traffic incidents, but they are all also trained to be on the lookout for anyone walking along the bridge who may give cause for concern.

“They work closely with the police who are contacted immediately and get involved straight away.”

The road bridge as seen from the Law

Mr Hunter said both the board and the local authority are also keen to be proactive in helping people who may have depression or other mental health issues, and engage with them before they consider ending their lives.

Cities around the world have explored various ways to prevent deaths at locations such as bridges and train stations.

Last year officials in San Francisco installed a net beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, while in Ann Arbor, Michigan, steel fences are being installed on top of multi-storey car parks. And, in 2015, Network Rail bosses announced that following a record number of rail suicides in 2013, they were installing blue LED lights at some train stations.

This initiative has proved successful in Japan, where it is thought the coloured lights create a sense of peace and calm.

A spokesman for the Broughty Ferry lifeboat said crews have been called out 19 times to assist police with concerns for someone on or around the bridge in the past year.

The spokesman said: “The majority of our call-outs in the past year have been to deal with concern for someone at the bridge.”

He said that on some occasions they have remained on standby, but have also been called upon to remove someone from the water.

Police have released four images of the man who fell from the Fife end of the bridge at 3.40pm on January 1.

It has been confirmed that the man walked on to the bridge from the Dundee end. The Coastguard carried out an extensive search of the river, but, to date, there have been no sightings.

One man was so upset by the reports that he has volunteered to monitor the crossing.

Sandy Brown, from Polepark, said: “I was saddened when I kept seeing reports of people jumping from the Tay Road Bridge.

“I have been asking, why is there not a patrol on to watch for this sort of thing?

“I want to offer myself as willing to watch the bridge as night security from late at night until early morning.

“If I can stop one person from ending their life in this way, I will feel more than rewarded.

“I can’t do anything for the man who fell on New Year’s Day but I can maybe save the next person.”

 

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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