Love Island star Mike Thalassitis’ death not treated as suspicious

Love Island star Mike Thalassitis’ death not treated as suspicious

The 26-year-old, who was also a semi-professional footballer, was found dead in north London.
Mike Thalassitis found fame on the 2017 series of Love Island.

The death of the former Love Island contestant Mike Thalassitis is not being treated as suspicious.

Police and the London ambulance service were called to a park close to Latymer Way, in Edmonton, north London, on Saturday. The police said a man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 26-year-old reality television star and semi-professional footballer had found fame on the 2017 series of the ITV competitive dating show Love Island. He earned the nickname “Muggy Mike” after partnering with Olivia Attwood, the girlfriend of fellow islander Chris Hughes.

A statement from the Metropolitan police said: “Police were called to a park near Latymer Way, N9, at 9.28am on Saturday, 16 March. Officers and the London ambulance service attended and found a man, aged in his 20s, deceased.

“At this early stage, the death is not being treated as suspicious. Police are in the process of informing the man’s next of kin. A file will be prepared for the coroner.”

Thalassitis, who was of Cypriot descent, was born in Edmonton and played for clubs including Stevenage, St Albans, Chelmsford and Margate.

Tributes were left on Sunday outside the cafe that he planned to open. Bunches of flowers and a card were placed at the door to the business, the Skillett, in Loughton, Essex. The interior of the unit, on a small row of shops, appeared to be midway through a refurbishment.

His Love Island co-star Montana Brown had earlier written on Instagram: “I will help open your cafe with Scott because you worked so hard on it so don’t you worry!”

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org

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Families of Tayside suicide victims, including Carseview patients, wait for inquiry findings

Families of Tayside suicide victims, including Carseview patients, wait for inquiry findings

The independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside has retired to consider the key issues hampering the system’s ability to care for patients.

Launched following pressure from the families of suicide victims in Dundee, the inquiry’s evidence stage has concluded after receiving hundreds of submissions from the public.

Alongside other evidence, these will now be examined by the inquiry, chaired by former chief inspector of prisons David Strang.

Mr Strang said: “I am pleased with the response we have received to our public call for evidence. More than 200 people have submitted written documents and personal statements and there have been more than 60 oral evidence sessions held.

“Evidence has been submitted from a wide range of people including patients, families, carers, NHS employees and third-sector organisations.”

David Strang is chairing the inquiry

Agencies such as Police Scotland, student welfare teams and Dundee Drugs Misuse Commission have also contributed.

The evidence stage has taken several months, with discussions held with parties with an interest in improving mental health services.

The inquiry has visited psychiatric units including the Carseview Centre, the Rohallion Clinic and Stracathro in order to understand the systems currently in place.

The information it has gathered to date will be used to identify key issues in mental health services.

A statement from inquiry chiefs said: “The next stage of the inquiry’s work is to analyse all the data evidence, relevant government reports, statistical data, internal NHS review documents and data, in order to identify common themes which will then be the subject of further investigation and analysis.”

The inquiry was commissioned by NHS Tayside last year after campaign group Lost Souls of Dundee claimed it had identified at least 10 suicides which could have been prevented in the area.

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Keith Flint: Prodigy vocalist dies aged 49

Keith Flint: Prodigy vocalist dies aged 49

Keith Flint, vocalist with the Prodigy, has died at the age of 49. He was found at his home in Essex on Monday.

The Prodigy released a statement confirming the news, saying: “It is with deepest shock and sadness that we can confirm the death of our brother and best friend Keith Flint. A true pioneer, innovator and legend. He will be forever missed. We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time.”

Liam Howlett, who formed the group in 1990, wrote on Instagram: “I can’t believe I’m saying this but our brother Keith took his own life over the weekend. I’m shell shocked, fuckin angry, confused and heart broken ….. r.i.p brother Liam”.

An Essex police spokesman confirmed that a 49-year-old man had died. “We were called to concerns for the welfare of a man at an address in Brook Hill, North End, just after 8.10am on Monday,” he said.

“We attended and, sadly, a 49-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed. The death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.”

With his punk aesthetic of piercings, spiked hair and intense stare, Flint became one of the UK’s most iconic musical figures in the 1990s. He joined the Prodigy as a dancer, later becoming a frontman alongside rapper Maxim. Aside from their 1992 debut, all of the group’s seven albums have reached No 1 in the UK, the most recent being No Tourists, released in November 2018.

Flint performed the vocals on the Prodigy’s best known singles, Firestarter and Breathe, which both went to No 1 in 1996. Firestarter became their biggest US hit and the group are often credited with helping to break dance music into the mainstream in the country.

Speaking to the Guardian in 2015, Flint lamented the state of modern pop music. “We were dangerous and exciting! But now no one’s there who wants to be dangerous. And that’s why people are getting force-fed commercial, generic records that are just safe, safe, safe.”

As well as his success with the Prodigy, Flint founded the successful motorcycle racing outfit Team Traction Control, which made its debut in 2014 and went on to win multiple Supersport TT titles.

The Prodigy played some of the biggest stages in the UK, including the 1996 Knebworth concerts headlined by Oasis and, in 1997 became the first dance group to headline Glastonbury. Festival organiser Emily Eavis paid tribute, calling their set “a huge, unforgettable moment”.

Eavis added: “He’s played here so many times with the Prodigy and was booked for 2019. What an incredible frontman.”

Gail Porter, who dated Flint between 1999 and 2000, simply wrote the word “heartbroken” on Twitter.

Further tributes have been made from his musical peers. Ed Simons of the dance duo the Chemical Brothers shared a memory of Flint on Instagram.

A post from the Chemical Brothers’ official Twitter account said Flint “was an amazing front man, a true original and he will be missed”.

Richard Russell, the head of the XL Recordings label that first signed the group, said on Twitter: “Devastated keith flint is gone. not just a great performer. he had total integrity & an incredible sense of humour. one of the sweetest people I’ve ever worked with. what a beautiful energy. what a gentleman. privileged to have known him. miss u keith.”

Sleaford Mods, whose frontman Jason Williamson collaborated with the Prodigy on the 2015 track Ibiza, tweeted: “Very sorry to hear of the passing of Keith Flint. Good night mate. Take it easy.” Another collaborator, the band Kasabian, described him as a “beautiful man” and “incredible pioneer”.

The rapper Professor Green said the Prodigy at the Brixton Academy in 2009 was “the best gig I’d ever seen, and still is till this day” and had inspired him to be a music star. He added: “Your music, your presence, your attitude. It all had such an influence on me. Saddened doesn’t even cut it.”

 In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.

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Suicide prevention plan to be launched in Dundee

Suicide prevention plan to be launched in Dundee

A new suicide prevention initiative will be launched in Dundee after findings showed the city has the highest rate of people taking their own lives in Tayside and Fife.

Poverty and welfare reform have been cited as one of several contributing factors in the city, which is infamous for having one of the highest numbers of benefit sanctions in Scotland.

The Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan would bring the city council, NHS, emergency services and specialist mental health services more closely together to work on preventing deaths.

It will be under consultation until April and is expected to be endorsed by the Dundee Integration Joint Board in June.

An investigation carried out between 2013 and 2017 showed 131 people died by suicide in the city in that time.

The rate of 19 per 100,000 population was significantly higher than the Scottish average of 13.5.

Males in Dundee have the second highest mean rate of suicide in Scotland.

A report compiled by the Tayside Multi-Agency Review Group, set up in 2016 to investigate the issue, said: “Scotland continues to have a higher suicide rate than the rest of the UK mainland and there is a strong association between suicide and socio-economic deprivation.

“A number of cases have highlighted the impact of issues around benefits in potentially contributing to local suicide deaths.”

Concerns have also been raised about ambulance staff having no access to mental health records when dealing with emergencies, unlike the police.

The findings come a year after Tayside’s most senior police officer said tackling mental health challenges was the force’s greatest challenge.

Speaking at Tuesday’s Health and Social Care Partnership meeting, the committee’s chair Trudy McLeay said: “I was surprised that the ambulance service don’t have access to mental health records.

“It must be a very difficult situation, especially when dealing with an attempted suicide.”

Common factors identified in Tayside men and women who died by suicide included bereavement, a criminal history, harmful use of alcohol, adverse childhood experiences and physical health problems.

Among men, a significant number were found to have had a record of abuse perpetration, psychotic or organic brain conditions, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, a career history in the military and/or Eastern European ethnicity.

Meanwhile, a common factor specific to women was infertility.

A further report submitted to the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership raised concerns that there may not be enough funding to implement the new plan.

DWP spokesperson said: “Suicide is a highly complex issue and it’s wrong to make a link with welfare reforms.

“This report is over 300 pages long and mentions welfare reform in just one paragraph.”

 

link to Courier article here

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Musician urges people not to keep their mental health rapped up

Musician urges people not to keep their mental health rapped up

A Tayside musician is helping beat the stigma of mental illness by rapping about his time in a Dundee psychiatric hospital.

Kieran Smart, who studied music production in Perth before being admitted to Carseview, posted a video to social media which detailed his battle against self-harm and hallucinations.

The 23-year-old mentions his feelings of isolation while struggling with his mental health, which led him to spend a total of four months in the unit over the past two years.

He said he hoped the video would encourage more people to seek help sooner, after revealing it took him five years to get treatment.

He said: “It’s an overview of what I was feeling at the time. Now I feel not much different but better – music definitely helps with that. It gives me an outlet – a way to put things down as I’m not really big on speaking to people and this is easier.

“I’ve been writing for ten years and when I came out of Carseview the second time that’s when I recorded my first song.

“I put this video online to help break down the stigma of mental illness. I want to bring awareness to that – I want people to know it’s all right to not be all right.

“It’s a constant reminder for me but I’d rather it helped someone – I hope it would. I’ve been dealing with this since 2012 and I didn’t seek any help until 2017 because I had the idea that being male I had to mask it.”

Mr Smart has also praised staff at the facility at a time when mental health services in Tayside have come under fire, with unit closures in Perthshire and Angus.

He said: “When I first went into Carseview I wanted out as soon as possible because I was in a locked ward but the treatment was really good and the staff were great – they were always willing to talk.”

 

Link to Courier article here 

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Health chief ‘totally committed’ to creating 24-hour mental health crisis centre in Dundee

Health chief ‘totally committed’ to creating 24-hour mental health crisis centre in Dundee

A Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership chief has pledged his ‘total commitment’ to establishing a new 24-hour mental health crisis centre in the city.

Councillor Ken Lynn, vice chairman of the joint board, said he envisaged the hub would be separate from existing facilities such as Ninewells Hospital or Carseview, to be “more central, more in the community and staffed by mental health professionals”.

It comes after a commission set up to tackle poverty and deprivation in Dundee recommended the creation of a 24-hour drop-in service offering clinical, non-clinical, therapeutic and peer support.

The commission found people reaching crisis point outside normal working hours were unable to self-refer for support when they need it most and some campaigners have criticised policy makers for a perceived lack of action on the issue.

Councillor Lynn rejected any suggestion proposals have been “kicked into the long grass” and said he intended to speak to the new chairwoman of the integrated joint board, Trudy McLeay, about moving the project forward.

“There are a number of hoops we would need to go through before this comes to fruition,” he said.

“But I am very supportive of the idea – in fact, I don’t know anyone who is not.

“I have spoken with representatives of the mental health sub group of Dundee City Council and we agreed to set up an event to make a presentation to councillors. I expect that will happen over the next few weeks.

“I’m totally committed and willing to do whatever it takes to get the money for it, even if it means moving resources from other areas.”

Dundee-based MSP Jenny Marra called for the creation of a dedicated 24-hour emergency unit last year after Tayside’s most senior police officer revealed mental health was the force’s “greatest challenge”.

The call received the backing of a number of leading mental health charities and a petition by Ms Marra urging the Scottish Government to back the plans has now received more than 6,500 signatures.

© Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament
Jenny Marra MSP.

A number of those pledging support also left personal messages outlining how such a facility would have helped them or a loved one in their time of need.

Ms Marra said: “There is an urgent need in Dundee for a mental health crisis centre where people can refer themselves and get support any time of day or night.

“There is widespread support for this type of service in the city and it was recently recommended by the city-wide poverty commission.

“When I called for a crisis centre for Dundee in parliament last year, the First Minister said she agreed that there should be a crisis centre in Dundee but I’m not aware of any progress on this so far.

“There is a crisis centre that serves people in Edinburgh. There is no good reason why there should not be the same level of service in Dundee.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring that we have the right support available in our NHS and care services for those who need it.

“An independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside is currently ongoing and we will ensure its findings are shared across Scotland and help shape service delivery in Dundee.”

 

Link to Courier article here 

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