NHS bosses have ordered an independent inquiry into a psychiatric unit following the case of a man who killed himself after being refused admission.
David Ramsay, 50, took his own life in 2016 just days after twice being sent home from the Carseview centre at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Nicola Sturgeon was questioned by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard over the case at Holyrood on Thursday.
NHS Tayside has now announced the care provided by Carseview will be reviewed.
Mr Ramsay’s family has been campaigning for a full public inquiry into mental health provision in NHS Tayside, with his niece Gillian Murray calling for Health Secretary Shona Robison – a Dundee MSP – to stand down.
NHS Tayside chairman John Brown said the “independent assurance report” would examine “how services are delivered at Carseview to address the concerns of some families who have been speaking out about their experiences of mental health services at the centre.”
The health board will take advice from the Mental Welfare Commission on which experts should be tasked with carrying out the work.
As part of the review, they will speak to patients at the centre and their families.
Mr Brown added: “If the report highlights any areas for improvement, or flags up issues where we can learn lessons, we will make any changes required immediately.”
Separately, Public Health Minister Maureen Watt has written to Ms Murray to offer her “sincerest apologies” for the way some of the correspondence between her and the Scottish government had been handled.
Ms Watt said a response she had sent to Ms Murray in April was sent to a mistyped email address – meaning Ms Murray did not receive it.
Ms Murray – a former SNP member who said she had left the party over its “failure” to help with her uncle’s case – has also been invited to meet Ms Watt, Ms Robison or the first minister “at a time and date of Ms Murray’s convenience.”
Responding to the announcement of the review, Ms Murray tweeted that it was a “welcome first step but certainly not the end of the road” and said the family would continue to demand a full public inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.
Speaking on Thursday, she had accused the Scottish government of ignoring the family’s concerns – which was strongly denied by the first minister.
And she said her uncle had “needed that little bit of help” but had been “turned away”, with the hospital “passing the buck to the family”.
Ms Murray added: “It could happen to anyone – it could be me or you who needs that little bit of help, and he was turned away.
“I was having to Google how to look after a suicidal individual, how to look after somebody with psychosis. That shouldn’t have been left to us.”
She also said resigning would be the “honourable thing” for Ms Robison to do.
Mr Leonard also welcomed the inquiry, but added: “The reality is that it should not have taken years of campaigning by bereaved families – and a tragedy being raised at first minister’s questions – to deliver this limited review.
“Scrutiny should be an essential part of how our public services are run – but instead bosses at NHS Tayside and Shona Robison have attempted to evade accountability at all costs.”
Who was David Ramsay?
Mr Ramsay made three separate attempts at suicide in the space of a week in the autumn of 2016.
His family convinced him to seek urgent help from his GP, who referred him to Carseview because he “required admission”.
Mr Ramsay had two emergency assessments, but was turned away from the centre on both occasions.
His niece told BBC Scotland there had been a catalogue of failures over the handling of her uncle’s case in the days before he killed himself.
She said Mr Ramsay’s death had been preventable as he had told staff “in no uncertain terms” and on separate occasions that he did not want to live and needed help.
What has the health secretary said?
In a statement, Ms Robison welcomed the review, saying that: “People who need mental health services, and their families, should have full confidence that they will receive the highest standards of care when they or their loved ones are in a very vulnerable condition”.
She had earlier tweeted that Ms Murray and her family “have every right to raise their concerns and shouldn’t be criticised for doing so”.
Ms Robison added: “The voices of patients and their families are hugely important in our health service”.
A leading charity dealing with suicide prevention has said the Scottish government is not treating the issue as a top priority.
The Samaritans commissioned a poll which indicated 61% of people in Scotland have been affected by suicide.
Almost 40% of those taking part said they would not know who to turn to if they were supporting someone in crisis.
The Scottish government is drawing up a new prevention plan and said it was spending over £1bn on mental health.
In 2016, there were 728 probable suicides in Scotland. This was an 8% rise on the previous year.
Most of those who die are men, 71% in 2016.
The Samaritans poll, which included more than 1,000 people in Scotland, found:
61% of people in Scotland have some experience of suicide
89% would support suicide prevention training for professionals
Almost 40% would not know where to turn if they were supporting someone in crisis
29% have either supported a close friend or family member through feelings of suicide, or lost a close friend or family member to suicide
Samaritans executive director for Scotland James Jopling said: “This shows this issue may not be taken as seriously as it should be; that it’s not an issue we are seeing embedded in the Justice Department, in education and how we support young people.
“In other functions of government we are not seeing the reflection of this issue. Our feeling is, it’s not being seen on the levels it should be.
“We have a dedicated mental health minister, she should and can be the person to champion our efforts on this and that’s what we want to see.”
The Scottish government is drawing up a plan for suicide prevention, with the consultation on it closing earlier this week.
Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt said: “We are investing more and more money in mental health every year.
“The past year (2017/18) we saw for the first time £1bn invested in mental health and now we’ve got an extra £150m on top of that for this next year.
“Mental health and suicide prevention is a very important part of the Scottish government’s actions going forward.”
‘Kindness and compassion’
Four years ago, 28-year-old Nicola Saunders tried to take her own life.
She had been struggling with mental health problems since she was 10 years old.
“Physically, I felt as if there was a ball inside of my stomach, that it would squeeze quite a lot and when it squeezed I couldn’t bear it, I just wanted to curl up into a ball and scream and cry.”
With nobody close who could help her and she says she felt totally alone.
“I was in the psychiatric unit for three weeks. I didn’t have any support, I didn’t really have any familial support.
“I was discharged and I didn’t have any support in place whatsoever. I didn’t have anywhere to live at the time and I was basically told that if I was going to leave I would be homeless.”
Nicola now runs a survivors group, offering help she felt was missing for her at the time. She is calling for a more open discussion around suicide in Scotland.
“Kindness and compassion is what is needed,” she says. “I think we just need to not be afraid to talk about it, openly, then it’s not scary and it’s like, we can solve this.”
Details of organisations which offer advice and support are available at BBC Action Line or you can call for free, at any time, to hear recorded information 0800 066 066.
A POPULAR Glasgow rapper who died at the age of 21 will feature in a new documentary which is being made to raise awareness of the mental health and suicide crisis in young men.
Calum ‘Lumo’ Barnes was tragically discovered in the River Clyde last September and his death devastated the hip hop community in Glasgow where he gained fame through his band Deadsoundz Inc.
Now documentary maker Hannah Currie will show the impact of Calum’s death in a new film which is currently being made.
Hannah, 28, said: “The thing that has come clear from making this documentary is that the love hasn’t dropped for Calum. The mourning hasn’t stopped.
“Everyone still talks about him all the time. Everyone shares his music and photos of him. It is very much still fresh in the minds of everyone in the hip hop community.”
A Hip Hop event is being held on May 3 at The Classic Grand in a bid to raise funds to help complete production of the documentary.
The event is called We Are All Here which is inspired by a poem Calum wrote about mental health for See Me Scotland before he died.
Hannah, who lived in the city’s West End for 10 years before moving to London to complete her Masters degree, hopes to widely distribute the film in a bid to save others who are battling with suicidal thoughts.
She said: “The most important thing that Scotland needs right now is to address the mental health crisis. I have suffered from mental health issues myself and there needs to be system on how we will deal with the issue because what you have happen is a lot of people slip through the net.
“People feel they can’t be helped and they start to see suicide as an option.”
She added: “I have done a lot of research and in 2016 our suicide figures rose in Scotland for the first time in six years. It is just not good enough.
“We need to start seeing it as not a taboo thing because it is one of the most common killers of young people in the UK.
“We need to start seeing it as the real threat to our own friends and family. We need to do something about this because this could take somebody that we love. That is the worst nightmare.”
We Are All Here will feature some of Scotland’s most prominent rappers when it kicks of at 7pm.
There will be a rap battle between Loki and Oddacity as well as performances from other well-known names in the scene.
Tickets costing £5 are available from www.skiddle.com.
A number of leading charities have added their names to a growing list calling for a dedicated emergency mental health unit in Dundee.
MSP Jenny Marra has called for the new service to be established following a revelation from Tayside’s most senior police officer that mental health is the force’s “greatest challenge”.
The Scottish Government has faced renewed pressure from campaigners to implement the proposal following a string of shocking and violent incidents in Dundee where mental health was identified as a potential factor.
The incidents have raised serious questions over the way mental health is managed across the region and the quality of services available for people reaching crisis point.
Robin Murphy, from the mental health and wellbeing charity Penumbra, said it causes further distress and anxiety when those in crisis are unable to access support quickly.
He added: “In some parts of the country crisis provision is good. In other areas though, people are unsure how to access dedicated services, if they exist at all.
“There is clearly a need for better crisis support and we are keen to be part of the conversation about the possible options for Dundee.”
Ged Flynn, chief executive of the charity Papyrus, which specialises in prevention of young suicide, said people attending regular A&E at the time of a mental health crisis often find the environment is “not conductive to their needs”.
“In some cases they feel worse or are misunderstood in an emergency department which is busy, noisy and is often hugely pressurised for staff,” he said.
“There is a definite need for an alternative safe space for young people and others who experience suicide crisis to attend somewhere where they and their caregivers and parents can find professional and timely support in a suicide safe environment.”
Mental Health Foundation Scotland’s Toni Giugliano warned Dundee is facing an “imminent mental health storm” unless it finds a way to cope with the increasing number of people reaching crisis point.
Speaking after raising the issue at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Marra said the present system of mental health crisis care is “simply not enough”.
“I hear stories time and time again of police seeking care for people and being turned away,” she said.
“It’s time that Dundee had a mental health A&E so that those in the most desperate need of care can present themselves, be assessed and given help, care and assistance.
Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt said Dundee had “a number of mental health facilities that can respond to psychiatric emergencies and provide admission or community-based support as required.”
She added: “As part of our mental health strategy, and to better support mental health crisis across Scotland, we are investing £35 million over five years to provide 800 additional mental health workers in key settings, including police custody suites and A&Es.
“We are also testing an innovative ‘distress brief intervention’ service in four areas across Scotland, to better manage and support people presenting in distress to a wide range of services. These include A&Es, ambulance crews, the police and primary care.”
“Every day we get calls to our Parents Helpline from parents whose children have been waiting up to 18 months for treatment,” chief executive Sarah Brennan says.
Chloe is now getting help with her mental health.
“I now see a psychiatrist on a fairly regular basis and it helps to be able to be open about how I feel now.”
“As this report shows, we need to see urgent action across the board,” says Claire Murdoch, the national mental health director for NHS England.
She says the CQC is right to highlight the need for there to be “better cross-sector working” involving health providers, schools, regulators and government – as well as children and parents.
Scotland’s mental health minister Maureen Watt says the government will “continue to support the improvement of mental health services through the £150 million of extra funding we’re providing over five years to help deliver our Mental Health Strategy”.
The Scottish Labour leader has backed calls for a public inquiry into a Dundee psychiatric unit.
The city as a whole has suffered the biggest rise in suicides in Scotland, with a 61% surge in a year, according to official figures.
The Scottish Government released its suicide prevention draft strategy on Thursday, which proposes workplaces do more to help stop the tragedies.
Richard Leonard threw his weight behind the Lost Souls of Dundee group, which is demanding answers over the deaths of their loved ones.
In a column for The Courier, the Labour chief said fighting the increasing “human tragedy” in the city had “fallen to brave women such as Mandy McLaren”, a bereaved mother.
And he said Carseview had “turned people away only for them to take their own lives”.
Ms McLaren’s Lost Souls of Dundee has led calls for a full inquiry into the way Carseview looks after mental health patients.
Her son Dale Thomson was admitted to the unit in January 2015 after trying to take his own life.
The 28-year-old was discharged and found dead four days later.
There were 19 suspected suicides in Dundee in 2011, compared with 23 in 2015 and 37 a year later, the National Records of Scotland figures show.
There were also rises over the five years in Perth (12 to 20) and Angus (14 to 17). Rates dropped in Fife, from 63 to 43.
Launching the Scottish Government’s mental health draft strategy Maureen Watt, the mental health minister, said while the suicide rate in Scotland has fallen over the past decade, the government “must go further”.
“As part of our proposals, we aim to produce a world-leading suicide prevention training programme for employers,” she added.