‘This was no cry for help… I wanted to die’ – brave Dundee woman Zana speaks out about her mental health battle

‘This was no cry for help… I wanted to die’ – brave Dundee woman Zana speaks out about her mental health battle

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

Please follow and like us:
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 

Please follow and like us:
Mental health charity reveals stranded students are suffering during lockdown in Dundee

Mental health charity reveals stranded students are suffering during lockdown in Dundee

A leading mental health charity has said stranded students in Dundee are feeling the biggest strain during lockdown.

Feeling Strong, which offers support to young people who are suffer mental health issues, have said there has been an increase in worries among many in the city.

But, according to Marla Heier, lead volunteer at Feeling Strong, students attending universities in Dundee have been left feeling isolated, with coronavirus restrictions meaning some haven’t seen loved ones in month.

Ms Heier said: “Young people are definitely having increased mental health worries as a result of lockdown.

“Some of the worst affected are students who chose to stay in the city when lockdown began.

“Many believed it would maybe only last for around a month.

“Now we are several months in and for many it has been impossible to leave the city or to go home.

“Some of these students can’t leave Dundee to go to  home because their families are shielding or have vulnerable members.

“Other students from foreign countries are also unable to go home and for them the situation is worse because they are so far from their loved ones.”

In January, Feeling Strong opened a community hub in Stobswell aiming to deliver a number of services for the young people of the city.

The hub is also designed to be a one stop shop for those who are indeed of support.

However, throughout lockdown, the base has been closed to its users.

Although unable to physically meet with those struggling, volunteers at Feeling Strong been able to offer counselling online.

Ms Heier said: “We are regularly in touch with some people who have turned to us for help and we have also provided advice and support to people who have come to us  even once.

“We can offer peer support but they can also signpost and make referrals to other groups in the city who can also offer to help.”

“Hopefully we are providing a lifeline for young people who may be facing this current crisis alone and feel they have no one else to talk to.”

Feeling strong can be contacted at  www.feelingstrong.co.uk or at www.calendly.com/feelingstrong/drop-in-hub.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

Please follow and like us:
Emergency services attend as woman is rescued from the Tay

Emergency services attend as woman is rescued from the Tay

A female was rescued from the Tay by emergency services late last night.

The woman, who has not been identified, was hauled out of the water close to City Quay just before 11.30pm.

She was transferred to a waiting ambulance. The woman was reported to be very cold but otherwise uninjured.

Emergency services including Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service, Broughty Ferry Lifeboat crew and two coastguard teams from Dundee and Arbroath raced to the scene shortly after the alarm was raised at 10.55pm.

A spokesman for HM Coastguard said they received a call from police saying that a female was in the water just off City Quay.

The spokesman said: “Emergency services, including both Broughty Ferry lifeboats, raced to the scene to the woman’s aid.

“The woman was traced by the RNLI crew and she was pulled on to the inshore lifeboat.

“She was then transferred to a waiting ambulance. She was conscious and breathing but was very cold.”

The Tay rescue is the second in three days for the volunteer Broughty Ferry lifeboat crew.

On Sunday they rescued a woman who was seen to enter the water opposite City Quay and began swimming out into the river.

The woman, who had been overwhelmed by the current, was saved by the crew of Broughty Ferry lifeboat who managed to haul her out of the water just as she was going under.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “Around 11.10pm on Tuesday, 16 June, police were called to a report of a woman in the River Tay near to City Quay in Dundee.

“The woman was rescued from the water and taken by ambulance to Ninewells Hospital to be checked over then later released.”

 

Link to Evening Telegraph story here  

 

 

Please follow and like us:
Carseview Centre intensive care unit praised by inspectors after visit to mental health hospital

Carseview Centre intensive care unit praised by inspectors after visit to mental health hospital

Inspectors have commended staff at a Dundee mental health unit following a visit earlier this year.

The Mental Welfare Commission Scotland said patients in the 10-bed intensive psychiatric care unit at Carseview Centre spoke positively about the care and support they received and said staff had a supportive manner.

It also said nursing students were well supported and patients’ care plans were detailed, person-centred and clearly structured with good information about specific needs and interventions.

The Carseview Centre, Dundee.

Johnathan Maclennan, lead nurse for mental health and learning disabilities at NHS Tayside, said: “This report recognises and demonstrates the commitment of the intensive psychiatric care unit team to high quality, person-centred, rights-based, least restrictive care.

“The team should be incredibly proud of the work undertaken – and ongoing – to improve the overall care experience, which also includes working towards accreditation as part of the Royal College of Psychiatry quality network for psychiatric intensive care units.”

One recommendation the inspectors made was to provide more storage space for patients’ belonging, and NHS Tayside has said it has already addressed this by adding new bedroom furniture where needed.

Since the commission’s last visit to the unit, staff have worked to reduce one-to-one observations and have also bought more outdoor furniture to provide therapeutic outdoor spaces for the patients.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

Please follow and like us:
Broughty Ferry man publishes first book detailing his struggle with schizoaffective disorder

Broughty Ferry man publishes first book detailing his struggle with schizoaffective disorder

Spencer Mason was 12 years old when he realised that he was experiencing life differently to anyone else.

Now 22, the student from Broughty Ferry has just published his first book, Other Tongues, detailing his journey with schizoaffective disorder.

Schizoaffective disorder is a condition where symptoms of both psychotic and mood disorders are present together.

For Spencer, the past 10 years have been spent trying to navigate his struggle with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

© Supplied
Spencer Mason has spoken about his path to publishing the book.

“It started developing when I was about 12,” he said.

“It sent everything rocketing for pretty much the entire past 10 years. It’s having to live like a normal human being when you don’t experience anything that a normal human being experiences.

“It’s people not realising how much of a struggle every day is and how much is dictated in the moment about my ability to do things.”

Spencer, who is studying songwriting at BIMM Manchester, said that the development of the disorder was both “gradual and sudden”.

He said: “There was a day where I noticed that I was perceiving more things in a sensory way than I usually would, but I was young at the time.

“Over the coming months and years, it became more obvious that these were sensory hallucinations. It took a while for me to realise that the voices were perhaps in my head and they weren’t a radio trapped in the wall that I couldn’t get to.

“It’s really strange to know you’re delusional about certain things but you still can’t shake that belief. There are those phobias and fears that are so incoherent and when I say them out loud and try to explain it to people it can feel like ‘oh my goodness I am actually a crazy person’.

“I can’t shake that feeling but also it’s so logical. Some things are just absolute facts and no matter how much you try to resist them those beliefs just don’t go away.

“As an early teenager, people couldn’t understand my justifications of certain things and I couldn’t understand how they couldn’t see my justifications of things.

“That was the first time I really noticed a difference between my experience and what other people were living.

“I didn’t realise that it was abnormal for a really long time. There was a really long period where I didn’t understand how people were functioning with the same problems that I had.”

Spencer’s book, which combines poetry and prose, has been a work in progress for 18 months, beginning after he made an attempt to take his own life.

“About two years ago I made a suicide attempt and jumped out of a window. I broke my spine and that was kind of the first time I’d ever considered how my mental health could affect other people,” he said.

“That’s a big part of the book – we always think about looking after ourselves with mental health but how do you care about the people who care for you? Because some people got really hurt in the process.

“Around six months after that, when I moved to Manchester, I was speaking to a friend who had been affected really badly by my mental health. I decided that, for the first time, I really wanted to make positive moves to try and change myself so I started writing the book.”

An encounter with Dundee-based author Tina McGuff, who wrote a memoir about her recovery from anorexia, was key in Spencer’s decision to share his story.

“She made me believe how honest we need to be with our mental health. It’s great talking about ending stigmatisation but the only way to do that is to actually educate and speak, which is really what I wanted to do,” he added.

“Over those 18 months I focused on writing, developing poems and trying to rack my brain for everything that other people might not know about schizoaffective disorders, even if it may be obvious to me.

“I tried to Google for some self-help books to see if there was anything about coping mechanisms. There were quite a lot of stories and information but there wasn’t really anything about how you live it and how you can function alongside it, rather than recover from it.

“You have to learn to make it a part of your life and accept that, which is what the main premise of the book became; how to make this as accessible to people who would have absolutely no understanding of the situation.

“When you meet someone in the street you have no idea about their background or their daily life or how difficult it might be for them to keep up with the same routine as you.”

The book, which was published on Sunday, is currently ranked number one in new releases for poetry books on Amazon.

He said: “The initial reaction was really beautiful. The amount of messages I’ve received and support from people that I would never have expected has been amazing.”

Spencer is now looking to the future and is hopeful for what a post-lockdown world looks like.

“I’m currently not taking any medication, I prefer to try and just live my best life as I can with the tools that I have,” he said.

“I’m definitely in a better place now than I was two years ago in terms of my mental health but it doesn’t mean that those problems are gone, it just means I have better coping mechanisms.

“I can definitely make it through the next months but I think it’s going to be a mixed bag.

“I would like to stress, particularly in quarantine, the importance of looking after yourself and making sure that the people you love are OK.

“It’s a really difficult time. Humans need to look after each other, we can’t be selfish right now.”

The book can be purchased by clicking this link.

 

Evening Telegraph article here 

Please follow and like us: