Survey asks if mental health services in Dundee have improved in the past 12 months

A year on from the publication of a damning report into mental health services in Tayside the public is being asked whether significant progress has been made.

Dr David Strang’s study, the Trust and Respect Report, called for a drastic overhaul of local services, with 51 recommendations for change in total.

Now, almost a year on, a survey has been launched which the organisers hope will show the current state of mental health services in the region.

Mental health charities Plus Perth, Angus Voice and members of the Stakeholder Participation Group (SPG) – which was heavily consulted by Dr Strang – partnered up to launch the study.

Susan Scott, manager of Plus Perth said: “The survey will help us to gather evidence as to whether the wishes of the people whose comments in the collective service user statement are actually being met.

“We believe the survey can give us real answers as to whether things are changing, and whether or not people are having their needs met.

“The survey is very important as it is hoped it should provide insight into what is happening on the ground, in the very heart of our communities. ”

However, one Dundee man whose son took his own life due to mental illness said he is concerned the survey is just “another box ticking exercise.”

Strang Trust Respect Report
Phil Welsh (Lee’s dad) with a photo of Lee.

Phil Welsh has been campaigning for a 24/7 crisis centre in the city since his son Lee took his own life in 2017.

He said: “The SPG is an excellent group , made up of people with lived mental health experiences, so the question the SPG should be putting to the chief executive of NHS Tayside Grant Archibald is, how many of the 51 Strang recommendations have been implemented and which ones are these?

“We appear to be over old ground here, we have a clear set of recommendations as described in the damming report, yet little appears to have been implemented.

 

“While people are still presenting themselves onto the Tay Bridge with the intention of ending their life, I will continue to fight for what is desperately needed in Scotland’s suicide capital, and that is a crisis centre. Once that’s in place, I’ll happily fill out as many surveys as required.”

Gillian Murray, whose uncle David Ramsay took his own life after he was refused admission to Carseview, said she hoped the survey would help to determine whether improvements were being carried out.

Strang Trust Respect Report
Gillian Murray

However, she added: “It does concern me that without the constant media attention that we had at the start of the independent inquiry, there will be a reversion to business as usual for NHS Tayside mental health services, and we know from experience that can be deadly.”

In response to the Strang report, NHS Tayside produced an action plan which will be the blueprint for an overhaul of services by 2024.

The health board was approached for further comment.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

Tributes paid to hugely talented Dundee junior footballer Ryan Blair, 25, after sudden death

Ryan Blair, 25, while playing for Broughty Athletic

 

Courier article can be found here 

 

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More than 90,000 people in Tayside on mental health medication, as plans to improve services revealed by health board

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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New strategy aims to ‘reinstate confidence’ in Dundee’s mental health services

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

Many struggling to access mental health support, MSPs warn

Many struggling to access mental health support, MSPs warn

Holyrood’s cross-party group on mental health found people are turning to the private sector due to a ‘lack of support’.

Adults struggling with their mental health have little choice about treatment options in Scotland, with psychological therapies and counselling “not readily accessible”, according to a new report.

Holyrood’s cross-party group on mental health found people are turning to the private sector because of a “lack of treatment and support”.

This applies to those who are mostly “able to go about their daily lives with a mental health diagnosis”, the report said.

It found funding has helped recruit mental health workers, while both new and expanded services have been running during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although MSPs found “emerging evidence of some positive outcomes” for Scots accessing mental health services, they expressed concern children and young people continue to be left without support and the scale of investment in new services may not meet demand.

People with mental health problems also feel there is a lack of support for them to stay well, according to the report, with most commitments on accessing adult services in the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Strategy focusing on crisis support or initial contact with mental health services.

Commenting on the report, which was compiled with input from 78 MSPs on the cross-party group, co-convener Oliver Mundell said: “When it comes to access to treatment, we are right to recognise the progress that has been made but we cannot do so without acknowledging that for many this still proves far more difficult than it should be.

“Demand is often too great, resources too few or patchy and, definitely from what we hear from the group, it is inconsistent across the country.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are pleased the cross-party group has acknowledged the progress that has been made on mental health in recent months. This has been a very difficult period for many, particularly those experiencing mental ill health.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have provided £6m of dedicated funding to provide additional telephone and online support services.

“This includes £2.1m to expand the NHS 24 Mental Health Hub to be available to the public 24 hours a day, for seven days a week, £1.2m to provide extra capacity for Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT) and over £1m to roll out the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) programme on a national basis.

“Protecting good mental health in Scotland will be central to our long-term response to the pandemic and – as set out in our recent Mental Health Transition and Recovery plan – the Scottish Government is committed to doing more.

“A key part of this is our work to enhance access to and the quality of services.

“We have committed to building on innovations and new service designs that have emerged, such as the establishment of mental health assessment centres and the expansion of digital services where they can best meet patient needs.

“We will also work with NHS boards to ensure they are able to respond to any increase in demand over the coming months.

Link to STV news here