Dundee doctors cleared over suicide of tragic Lee but dad hits out a judgment

Phil Welsh with partner Lesley Nicoll.


A GP surgery has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the run-up to a Dundee dad taking his own life.


Link to Evening Telegraph here 

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Mental health inquiry could provide lasting legacy for suicide victims

The Carseview Centre


Link to Courier article here 

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Call for ‘crisis measures’ at Carseview mental health unit

Jenny Marra
Jenny Marra said allegations made in the documentary were “horrifically worrying”

An MSP has called for a Dundee mental health unit to be put into crisis measures following revelations in a BBC Scotland documentary.

Former patients at Carseview told the Breaking Point programme they were pinned to the floor and bullied on wards where illegal drugs were rife.

Dundee-based Labour MSP Jenny Marra said the allegations were “horrifically worrying.”

NHS Tayside has said it will investigate the patients’ allegations.

Following the documentary, another former Carseview patient told BBC Scotland that she felt “traumatised” following her time in the unit and said it should be closed.

The Scottish government said the accusations were “very concerning” and that they had “been clear” that NHS Tayside must “swiftly investigate any allegations of mistreatment or breaches of patients’ rights.”

Patients have alleged they were bullied on wards at Carseview

Ms Marra said she had been given “cast-iron assurances” two years ago during a visit to the unit that “everything was fine” and that “these problems don’t exist.”

She said: “Now clearly that just wasn’t true.

“I am calling today on the cabinet secretary for health to put NHS Tayside mental health services into crisis measures because this is about public confidence.

“People in Dundee and Tayside need to know that their loved ones are being properly cared for.

“And from what we have seen on the documentary, people are being failed, there is clearly no doubt about it.”

David Strang, the former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, will chair an independent inquiry into mental health services across NHS Tayside.

The allegations made in the BBC documentary will be included in the inquiry.

Ms Marra, who has called for a new team of doctors to be brought into Carseview, said: “It’s supposed to report in September, they really need now to speed up this process.”

Daisy Stewart
Daisy Stewart said she felt “traumatised” from her time in Carseview

Former patient Daisy Stewart, who was first admitted to Carseview aged 17, said she could “totally relate” to many of the accusations in the programme.

She said: “I felt like the restraints were kind of like punishment rather than the other hospitals I’d been in.

“They’ve tried to make it supportive, whereas in Carseview it feels like you’re a nuisance and they just want to quieten you.”

Miss Stewart said she was mixed in with “a lot of people who were taking drugs or had taken drugs.”

She said that her time in the unit did her “no good at all” and called for Carseview to be closed.

She said: “I’d say it nearly killed me.

“I’m surprised I got through it and I still feel really traumatised from it to the point where I still don’t really trust mental health professionals very much.

“I definitely felt more traumatised from Carseview than the trauma I had when I originally went in.

“The whole place has a vibe that is not healthy for a person without mental illness, never mind someone with depression.”

Lisa Stewart
Lisa Stewart said she felt that her daughter was “in danger” at the unit

Miss Stewart’s mother Lisa said that on one occasion her daughter had left Carseview and phoned her from a shop after taking an overdose.

Ms Stewart called Carseview and was told that her daughter was sleeping. After checking, staff discovered she was not there.

She said: “I said, is someone going to get her? “No. we’re too busy for that.”

“So I had to go and the police were there and they said this happens all the time, nobody comes to get them.”

‘Key milestone’

Ms Stewart said she could not take her daughter from the unit as she had been admitted under section.

She said: “I wanted to get her out because I felt she was more in danger in there than she was out.”

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said: “I will be expecting an early update from NHS Tayside on their investigation and the action they intend to take.”

The minister said Mr Strang’s appointment marked the independent inquiry’s “first key milestone” for families.

She said: “I also note NHS Tayside has today appointed Prof Keith Matthews as a new associate medical director for mental health services.

“His background and clinical leadership will play an important part in working to transform mental health services across the region.”



Link to BBC article here

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FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon challenged on denying children mental health treatment

Nicola Sturgeon


Link to Dundee Courier article here 

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Jonny Benjamin on publishing’s role in raising mental health awareness


For Mental Health Awareness Week, we spoke to mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin MBE, whose important and life-affirming memoir The Stranger on the Bridge (Bluebird) was released earlier this month.

The moving title chronicles the journey Benjamin undertook in 2014, to find and thank the stranger who stopped and saved his life, six years previously.


Jonny Benjamin on publishing's role in raising mental health awareness

What inspired you to write The Stranger on the Bridge?
This year marks ten years since I had my first breakdown, received my diagnosis and went to the bridge to take my own life. Finally I am in a very different place and have learnt a great deal about my own mind and mental health in general over the past decade. It felt very timely to write about my journey now.

Have you always been interested in writing? How did it feel revisiting the childhood diaries that you sample throughout?
Writing has always been incredibly therapeutic for me. Growing up I found it difficult to express my mental health issues vocally, so writing became a key outlet. Revisiting my childhood diaries was a challenging but cathartic experience. I knew I’d been distressed throughout my youth, but I had forgotten just how much I was struggling in silence.

What was the most challenging part of the project?
I think the most challenging part of the project was finally letting the manuscript go and it being published for people to read. It is such a personal and intimate book, and there was a lot in there that people didn’t know about so I felt extremely nervous in the weeks leading up to publication. Now that people have started reading it though and the response has been overwhelmingly positive I feel much more relaxed.

What impact are you hoping the book will have on its readers?
I hope it will give the reader an insight into mental illness that perhaps they haven’t had before. More than anything, I would like the book to offer those that are struggling some hope that they can overcome the adversities they are experiencing.

What has the reaction been like since sharing your story?
The reaction has been so positive. Mental health is something that touches so many of us. For such a long time it has been a taboo, but finally the silence and the stigma attached to mental illness seems to be shifting.

You’re a passionate mental health campaigner – would you say that public perception of mental health has changed or evolved in recent years? What part do you think publishing plays in this?
Publishing can play a huge role in changing attitudes towards a topic like mental health. Matt Haig’s powerful bestseller Reasons To Stay Alive helped my Mum to understand and talk about mental illness with me for the first time.

It’s an exciting time in terms of publishing on this subject. I’m seeing more and more books focusing on this area. I’m particularly looking forward to reading Natasha Devon’s A Beginners Guide To Being Mental which is published later this month. I know that it’s going to be a groundbreaking book about mental health.

Do you think the industry has a responsibility to be sharing more stories like this?
For a long time we’ve only had the opportunity to read primarily challenging stories on mental health. Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest is a prime example of this. It is a gripping story but ultimately it is one of despair and hopelessness.

I would love to see more stories on bookshelves that offer the reader hope, whilst remaining accurate and honest, of course. Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook is one such book which is hopeful and yet doesn’t shy away from the day to day, difficult reality of living with a mental illness.

Finally, are you working on anything new at the moment?
Myself and Britt Pflüger, who I co-wrote this first book with, are now working on our second book. It will be a tribute to overcoming adversity, with contributions from various individuals who have achieved it. I’m really looking forward to working on this book. Writing The Stranger On The Bridge was hard at times because of its content, but our new book will be much lighter and more positive.

Going forwards I think I would love to write books on mental health for children and young people. 75% of all mental health issues start in adolescence so it’s vital we address the subjects of mental illness and suicide from a young age. I know it would have made a real difference to me to have read a book on mental illness when I was suffering silently in my teenage years.


Link to The Bookseller here

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Dundee mental health charity set to benefit from charity football match in memory of Lee

A charity football match in aid of a young Dundee dad who took his own life after suffering from depression is to be held in the summer.

Lee Welsh, 27, was found dead at his Peddie Street home in the city’s West End last August.

At the time, his dad, Phil, said that Lee, whose daughter, Poppy, was then aged six, had battled mental health issues for the last nine years.

Since then, Phil has gone on to raise awareness of mental health issues among young people in Dundee.

Lee Welsh

Now, Lee’s childhood friend, Steve Martin, 27, has organised the football match in memory of his mate and to raise cash for the Dundee Association for Mental Health (DAMH).

Steve said: “Lee and I grew up together and played football for many years with Fairmuir Boys.

“I decided I wanted to do something in memory of Lee and raise money for DAMH at the same time.

“Because of our shared past playing football together, I decided a charity match would be appropriate.

Steve Martin who is organising the game

“I’m getting together about 30 of Lee’s mates and we will form two teams to play the match.

“I really hope this proves to be a success, because I would like it to become an annual event.

“I am having a trophy made for the winners and there will also be a man of the match award.”

Phil said he was very grateful to Steve for his efforts.

He said: “Steve’s dad and I are best mates and the boys basically grew up together.

“They also played football together, and when Steve said he wanted to hold a charity match, I was delighted.

“The match will be in memory of Lee and will also raise money for DAMH. It should be a great event and I would be really happy if it could become an annual event.”

The game will be held at North End Park on June 9 at 2pm.

Phil Welsh with a picture of his son.

Steve said: “I hope loads of people go along and make this a fantastic success in memory of Lee.”

After his son’s death, Phil said that although Lee had talked about his mental health issues, he didn’t believe enough had been done to help him.

Phil has now vowed to fight for better support for young people suffering similar problems.

He said: “I want to make sure that enough help and support becomes available for other young people and their families.

“You get told that young men don’t talk about their mental health issues, but Lee did.

“He was going to the doctor and was asking for help, but wasn’t getting it. That needs to change.

“No one in particular was to blame. The resources were just not there to help young people like Lee.

“That needs to change and I want to do all I can to make that happen.”

Phil has set up Not In Vain For Lee in a bid to ensure that his son didn’t die in vain.


Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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