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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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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Second charity football match in aid of young Dundee dad Lee, who took his own life

Second charity football match in aid of young Dundee dad Lee, who took his own life

Lee Welsh

 

link to Evening Tele article here 

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Mental health readmission rate rising in Tayside

Mental health readmission rate rising in Tayside

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Judge threatened suicidal woman with jail for ‘inconveniencing’ public after she threatened to jump off bridge for second time

Judge threatened suicidal woman with jail for ‘inconveniencing’ public after she threatened to jump off bridge for second time

  • Kimberley Macfarlane was charged with breach of the peace and told she could have faced a custodial sentence having ‘inconvenienced’ the public
  • The 24-year-old tried to jump off a motorway bridge in January 2018, resulting in a court case the following month at Dunfermline Sheriff Court
  • She had previously jumped off a bridge in August 2016, breaking two vertebrae in her back and leaving her in a brace for three months

A suicidal woman who was arrested after threatening to jump off a bridge said she was left feeling ‘like a criminal’ after a court threatened her with jail.

Kimberley Macfarlane, from Dunfermline, Fife, was charged with breach of the peace and told she could have faced prison because she ‘inconvenienced’ the public with her suicide bid.

The 24-year-old tried to jump off a motorway bridge in January 2018, resulting in a court case the following month at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

Ms Macfarlane has been struggling with mental health issues ever since she was diagnosed with a rare condition called Fowler’s Syndrome that left her unable to urinate and in constant pain.

Kimberley Macfarlane (pictured) was charged with breach of the peace and told she could have faced a custodial sentence having 'inconvenienced' the public with her suicide bid

Kimberley Macfarlane (pictured) was charged with breach of the peace and told she could have faced a custodial sentence having ‘inconvenienced’ the public with her suicide bid

She had also previously jumped off a bridge in August 2016, breaking two vertebrae in her back and leaving her in a brace for three months.

The court heard traffic had been brought to a halt twice in successive days and road closures had to be put in place after she threatened to jump from a motorway flyover.

Sheriff Craig McSherry admonished her but warned that if it became clear she still posed a risk of further offending, prison was an option.

He said: ‘A custodial sentence would at least mean that the public are not being inconvenienced in this way.’

But Kimberley says she was left feeling ‘worthless’ following her court case in February.

After being dissuaded from taking her own life, Kimberley was taken to hospital.

Kimberley said: ‘I had run away from the mental health hospital I was in then spent the night in the cells after I nearly jumped off the bridge.

‘When we got to hospital it was hard, there was no one to talk to, then I was stuck in this room by myself.

‘When I appeared in court the next day I was handcuffed to a G4S officer and taken to a holding room for four or five hours.

‘If I was to hurt anyone it would only have been myself.

‘I was the only person in my holding area, no one was telling me what was happening, and when I had to go to the toilet I was escorted.

‘In the courtroom I burst into tears when my charge was read out.

‘They said there would be a possibility of a custodial sentence – I didn’t really understand it at all.

Kimberley Macfarlane (pictured in hospital before her nose operation) In 2015 Kimberley's life was turned upside down when she underwent a nose operation for a sports injury and woke up unable to urinate

Kimberley Macfarlane (pictured in hospital before her nose operation) In 2015 Kimberley’s life was turned upside down when she underwent a nose operation for a sports injury and woke up unable to urinate

‘The sheriff must never have experienced poor mental health because he said I was being an ‘inconvenience’ because the road had to be shut.’

‘I felt like I was a criminal who had done something wrong – my mum saw me in handcuffs.’

Kimberley was charged with breach of the peace and allowed to go home, but her mental health was badly affected.

She added: ‘My solicitor said it might have been better for me to go to prison because I would’ve got the help I needed – he thought one day I might actually take my own life.

In a bid for change, Kimberley has become an NHS 24 Youth Form representative for Fife and spoken to her MSP for Dunfermline, Shirley-Anne Somerville.

‘There’s a massive difference between being admitted to a hospital ward and taken to a police cell.

‘Additional support should be required as people are often given better mental health care in jail rather than through the NHS – that’s actually quite worrying.

‘It would be good to shape how things are done in the future.’

The former captain of Dunfermline Athletic Ladies suffers from a rare condition which has left her unable to urinate and in constant pain.

In 2015 Kimberley’s life was turned upside down when she underwent a nose operation for a sports injury and woke up unable to urinate.

She was hit in the face while playing football and opted to get surgery to mend her squint nose.

But while in hospital, she developed Fowler’s Syndrome which affects one in a million women and can leave them unable to urinate.

What is Fowler’s Syndrome?

Fowler’s Syndrome is a rare urinary disease which affects around one in a million women in the UK.

It causes difficulty in passing urine and urinary retention due to the bladder’s muscles.

Fowler’s affects women in their twenties and thirties and up to half the patients affected have polycystic ovaries.

Sufferers may find they are unable to pass urine normally and need their bladders to be drained via a catheter.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms vary from being unable to hold any urine to being unable to empty the bladder fully.

Urinary infections may be a problem for women suffering from Fowlers Syndrome due to the bladder not emptying properly. Some women may also experience back and suprapubic pain.

The cause remains unknown and is still being researched.

Her GP had not even heard of the rare illness prior to her diagnosis and experts have been left baffled as to why it started following a nose operation.

She said: ‘I was only supposed to be in for one night but ended up spending three.

‘When I woke up my nose felt better, but I couldn’t pee.

‘I wasn’t sure what was wrong, but when I went into retention I was in agony with my bladder before they drained it.’

Having been active and healthy before, Kimberley left hospital with a catheter and since then has had to fight chronic pain and infections.

After hearing about her case, elite sports charity Support in Sport reached out to Kimberley and offered her free treatment.

They provided her with a free physio, who has been helping her with her back problems, and she will get access to a sports doctor and sports psychologist in January.

On December 4, Kimberley took part in a sponsored run at Hampden Park in aid of Support in Sport and the Express Group, a Fife-based mental health charity.

She said: ‘I almost didn’t want to turn up at Hampden because I thought I wouldn’t have been able to do it.

‘Running around the Hampden pitch was only 0.3 miles and not that big a deal for a fit person, but for me – where I’ve come from – it’s massive.

‘I never thought I would be able to run again.’

Kimberley has since raised £1,070 for the causes close to her heart.

She is remaining focused on the year ahead, trying to improve her fitness and is hopeful of playing football again.

She said: ‘I would say I’m turning a corner very slowly.

‘I still have doubts, but I have a little voice as well that that says I can do it.

‘This time next year, I hope things keep progressing and going forward, not backwards.

‘My dream is to return to playing football.’

For confidential support in the UK call the Samaritans on 116 123 or visit the website

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‘Damning’: suicide rates in Dundee higher than any other Scottish city

‘Damning’: suicide rates in Dundee higher than any other Scottish city

Suicide rates in Dundee are higher than any other city council area in Scotland, according to a new report.

The Scottish Suicide Information Database also shows that men accounted for three-quarters of suicides across Tayside in the last seven years.

According to the report, there were 164 deaths caused by suicide in Dundee with an average of 16.7 per 100,000 population between 2011 and 2017.

Angus along with Perth and Kinross Councils recorded 98 and 126 suicides respectively.

For Tayside as a whole, 388 suicides were recorded with an average per 100,000 population of 14.1.

Men were more likely to take their own lives, with the rates across Scotland highest among those aged 35-54 and in deprived areas.

Nearly three-quarters of those who died had contact with healthcare services in the year before their death.

An inquiry is currently under way into NHS Tayside’s mental health services after a number of concerns surrounding the Carseview Centre.

Phil Welsh, whose 28-year-old son Lee took his own life last year, said the latest statistics were “damning”.

He said: “It’s clear that there’s a situation here that isn’t working.

“I think the fact there is an inquiry shows there’s something amiss.

“Mental health is a discussion point now but it’s all well talking, we need support for people afterwards and that is why we badly need a crisis centre.”

A spokeswoman from NHS Health Scotland said: “National suicide prevention programmes need to incorporate a comprehensive public health approach which seeks to reduce stigma, improve mental wellbeing in the whole population and address the underlying causes of poor mental health.”

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here

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