A Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership chief has pledged his ‘total commitment’ to establishing a new 24-hour mental health crisis centre in the city.
Councillor Ken Lynn, vice chairman of the joint board, said he envisaged the hub would be separate from existing facilities such as Ninewells Hospital or Carseview, to be “more central, more in the community and staffed by mental health professionals”.
It comes after a commission set up to tackle poverty and deprivation in Dundee recommended the creation of a 24-hour drop-in service offering clinical, non-clinical, therapeutic and peer support.
The commission found people reaching crisis point outside normal working hours were unable to self-refer for support when they need it most and some campaigners have criticised policy makers for a perceived lack of action on the issue.
Councillor Lynn rejected any suggestion proposals have been “kicked into the long grass” and said he intended to speak to the new chairwoman of the integrated joint board, Trudy McLeay, about moving the project forward.
“There are a number of hoops we would need to go through before this comes to fruition,” he said.
“But I am very supportive of the idea – in fact, I don’t know anyone who is not.
“I have spoken with representatives of the mental health sub group of Dundee City Council and we agreed to set up an event to make a presentation to councillors. I expect that will happen over the next few weeks.
“I’m totally committed and willing to do whatever it takes to get the money for it, even if it means moving resources from other areas.”
A number of those pledging support also left personal messages outlining how such a facility would have helped them or a loved one in their time of need.
Ms Marra said: “There is an urgent need in Dundee for a mental health crisis centre where people can refer themselves and get support any time of day or night.
“There is widespread support for this type of service in the city and it was recently recommended by the city-wide poverty commission.
“When I called for a crisis centre for Dundee in parliament last year, the First Minister said she agreed that there should be a crisis centre in Dundee but I’m not aware of any progress on this so far.
“There is a crisis centre that serves people in Edinburgh. There is no good reason why there should not be the same level of service in Dundee.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We’re committed to ensuring that we have the right support available in our NHS and care services for those who need it.
“An independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside is currently ongoing and we will ensure its findings are shared across Scotland and help shape service delivery in Dundee.”
Essex-born student Chloe Sheridan, who studies in Dundee, shared her emotional tweet charting her mental health battle
A nursing student has revealed how she went from having suicidal thoughts to training to become a mental health nurse in an inspiring post.
Chloe Sheridan was admitted into a psychiatric ward for the first time three years ago, she said in a tweet which has gone viral.
The Essex-born student said she felt lost, hopeless and consumed by the idea of ending her life at that time, reports the Daily Record.
But the tweet ended with the revelation that she was now returning to a psychiatric ward – this time as a student mental health nurse.
She also shared two photos – the first showed her looking downcast and teary-eyed in a grey hoodie as she prepared to go into hospital as a psychiatric patient.
The second pic showed her beaming and looking professional in her grey nurses scrubs.
She posted: “Three years ago today I was taken into a psychiatric ward for the 1st time.
“I was lost, hopeless, consumed by the idea of ending my life.
“Today I walk into a psychiatric ward as a student mental health nurse for my first day of placement.
“Things change, they don’t stay hard forever.”
And Chloe’s life-affirming tweet quickly racked up support and likes as her story went viral across the platform.
Her tweet has garnered up almost 20,000 retweets and over 130,000 likes since it was posted.
Thousands more replied with messages thanking Chloe for her honesty.
One wrote: “From someone who struggles daily with Mental Health issues and needs the help/support MH workers provide, a massive thank you for your decision to work with others who need that help.
“You will be an asset to all you work with and I wish you all the best.”
Another said: “This is amazing!! Best tweet I’ve seen for ages. So glad you managed to get through it and your first hand experience and understanding will be invaluable. Best of luck in your career – I’m sure you’ll be fantastic!!”One posted: “Literally in the same position as you. 4 years ago I was in hospital for taking an overdose and seeing no way out of my hell of a life. I’m now a student mental health nurse and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
And another added: “I feel this. I was in and out of hospitals with mental health issues and struggled for a long time. This is brilliant! well done!! 4 years ago I was in sectioned in hospital and this year, 5 years later I will qualify as a mental health nurse! I can’t speak for anyone else, but using my experience and illness to do this truly gave me my spark back.”
Tay Road Bridge chiefs have pledged to tackle the rising number of emergency incidents reported on the crossing after admitting they are “nowhere near where we need to be” on the issue.
Data analysis taken from the bridge’s official twitter account shows an annual rise in reports of police call outs, from 21 in 2016, 23 in 2017, to a peak of 28 this year.
Many of the closures are due to people attempting to harm themselves on the span.
Officials pledged at the start of 2018 to probe whether anything could be done to reduce the number of incidents on the route after campaigners pointed to similar efforts being made in cities around the world.
Stewart Hunter, chairman of the road bridge board, revealed his team have looked at ways of making physical alterations to the crossing but found no structural change could be made without compromising its integrity.
He said: “From my point of view, one person on the bridge is one too many so any trend showing the numbers increasing would be worrying. However, even if it was decreasing, I would still be concerned for those individuals.
“There are a number of reasons why the numbers have increased and mental health is part of it. I think it would be irresponsible to focus on one aspect and ignore others.
“The Scottish Government, Dundee City Council and our partners are working hard to tackle this issue and make sure the people who need help get it. But obviously, there is still a long way to go and we are nowhere near where we need to be.
“As far as what is the best way to tackle the increase, we need to make sure that individuals have all the support they need long before it gets to the stage where they are on the bridge. That is where we will actually make the difference.”
Mr Hunter paid tribute to the “unsung heroes” working on the bridge who respond immediately when emergency incidents are reported.
Figures obtained from the twitter account show motorists were subjected to 132 days of disruption on the bridge this year for police and other incidents, such as roadworks, breakdowns and closures due to high winds.
It appears March’s Beast from the East weather disruption had a significant impact on traffic with the month seeing 18 days impacted by delays, more than any other in 2018.
Mr Hunter said: “We have a planned programme of maintenance and the increase this year is just about where we are in the maintenance cycle. The bridge is inspected regularly and any issues found are fixed very quickly.”
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.”
A grieving mum has demanded an overhaul of mental health services after it emerged dozens of people have taken their own lives in Dundee despite seeking help.
The proportion of suicide victims in the city who have attended a psychiatric appointment in the year leading up to their deaths is higher than in any other part of the country, official data revealed.
Mandy Mclaren, whose son 28-year-old son Dale died in 2011 shortly after discharging himself from the Carseview Centre in Dundee, said the new figures were evidence that people are being let down by NHS Tayside’s mental health services.
“To me the whole system is failing,” she said.
“That amount of people committing suicide is absolutely shocking. It does not get any easier.
“You hope they will learn by their mistakes, but they’re not.”
In nearly half (46%) of the 164 suicides in Dundee between 2011 and 2017, the victim had a psychiatric outpatient appointment in the 12 months before their death, which is the highest rate in the country.
The Scottish Suicide Information Database, which was published on Tuesday, showed there were 769 probable suicides in Tayside and Fife during that period. The national total was 5,204.
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said every suicide was a tragedy and was “comprehensively reviewed by the Tayside multi-agency Suicide Review Group to look at the circumstances surrounding each individual case”.
Rose Fitzpatrick, chair of the Scottish Government’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, said: “The Scottish suicide rate fell by 20% between 2002-06 and 2013-17, and we are committed to reducing this by another 20% over the next four years.”
People have until December 14 to give evidence to an independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside.
Visit www.suicidehelp.co.uk or phone Samaritans on Freephone 116 123.
The Dundee Fighting for Fairness report summarises how key issues affecting people in city are being tackled.
It was launched at the Steeple Church following months of research by the Fairness Commission, whose members met with people and families struggling to get by.
Among the recommendations are creating a single access point for all financial advice services in the city, preparing positive, anti-poverty messages and helping frontline staff including GP surgeries to raise awareness of the impact of poverty on mental health.
John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council and chairman of the Dundee Partnership, said: “People and money, mental health and stigma are three of the main themes we are looking at because they have featured in all of the stories we have heard.
“We know that far too much poverty that exists in the city and this is one way to target some of the root causes of that – by involving people with real-life experience.”
Another recommendation aimed at tackling issues with mental health in the city is to create a 24/7 drop-in service offering clinical, non-clinical, therapeutic and peer support.
The commission had found that people reach crisis point outside normal working hours and cannot self-refer for support when they need it most. It was also found that services did not always treat people in poverty with respect.
The partnership recommended that guidance materials are developed to allow service providers to recruit and train staff with the right values.
On December 12, the recommendations will be presented to Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government.