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 

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Ryan Blair, 25, while playing for Broughty Athletic


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Link to Dundee Tele article here 

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VIDEO: ‘You never get over it’ – Dundee parents discuss their children’s suicides

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 
‘The services must change’ – Council leader John Alexander responds to Tayside mental health report

‘The services must change’ – Council leader John Alexander responds to Tayside mental health report

The leader of Dundee City Council has responded to an independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.

John Alexander has today posted a statement on Facebook, stating that the capacity of the services “needs to increase” and that there are “too many people spread too thinly”.

An inquiry to examine the accessibility, safety, quality and standards of care provided by all mental health services in the region was commissioned after concerns were raised in the Scottish Parliament.

The final report, Trust and Respect, was published last week and was chaired by David Strang CBE.

Mr Alexander wrote: “Last week in a 136-page document, Dr David Strang set out the results and recommendations stemming from the independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.

“I spent the weekend pouring over the entirety of the document, considering it’s contents and thinking about what kind of service could be provided if those 51 recommendations are adopted.

“It’s vital that each word on those page is taken in. It was hard hitting, honest and to be frank, painted a deeply worrying picture of where things were.

“Mental health and it’s impact on too many people is an issue very close to my heart, even closer more recently but it’s also something that isn’t talked about enough – between family members and friends. I spent my Sunday morning with friends and one of the things we were talking about was the battles with mental health.

“I defy anyone to find someone that doesn’t have a family member, friend or someone that they work with who hasn’t suffered from issues related to mental health.

“We need to continue to remove any stigma associated with it and support those who need support. There is of course, a wide spectrum and the impacts can often be unseen, sometimes until it’s too late.

“There continues to be a significant number of people in crisis, at the end of their tether and struggling to manage daily life. What this report says very strongly and clearly is that people have been let down by services in Tayside. What it also says is that going forward, the services must change.

“The bottom line for me is that the capacity of those services needs to increase. There are too many people spread too thinly and too many silos that don’t allow for sustained collaboration.

“The Chief Executive of NHS Tayside has, to his credit, apologised for those failings and has said that his “…personal commitment to the people of Tayside is that I will work with them to address all the recommendations made by Dr Strang in his report.”

Grant Archibald.

“I’ve already discussed the matter with officers and look forward to meeting with NHS colleagues to see what actions have already been taken forward and hear how they intent to address the 51 recommendations.

“This report has been long anticipated and whilst I think there was a general expectation that there were issues, the fact that it has done such a thorough analysis and 1,500 interviews during that process should provide the evidence base required to make some big and necessary changes.”


Link to Evening  Telegraph article here