‘I have to live my life two hours at a time’: Former Carseview patient on his mental health battle

‘I have to live my life two hours at a time’: Former Carseview patient on his mental health battle

A man whose entire adult life has been plagued by mental health difficulties believes a 24-hour crisis centre for those suffering in Tayside would be a “great idea”.

Marc McLeish backed the Not in Vain for Lee campaign aimed at setting up a round-the-clock self-referral service, warning vulnerable people desperately need more support resources across the region.

The 33-year-old, from Perth, said: “If something like that existed in Tayside, it would be great.

“I have probably had about 40 emergency assessments in total but in almost 90% of these, I have been sent away with no treatment.

“If there was somewhere that was 24 hours, then it could be the case that I would not have self-harmed as much as I have.

“It would be great to have one in Perth as well but Dundee would be a good start.”

Marc, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder aged 23, has spent his entire adulthood battling his demons and the years since his school days have been marred by repeated incidents of self-harming and multiple hospital stints.

“I have been a prolific self-harmer since I was in my teens and I have probably done it up to 100 times in 17 years.

“I always felt like I was a bad person because I was gay and I believed I needed to be punished, so that’s what I have done.”

Marc’s struggles with his mental health have had a profound impact on his day-to-day life and he admits he has difficulty coping. He added: “I really don’t have a very good quality of life.

“For me right now, it’s not a day at a time but rather two hours at a time and that’s what’s getting me through.”

Marc spoke about his mixed experiences with health services throughout his struggles, having been admitted to hospitals in both his hometown and Dundee.

“My GP practice has been fantastic, but there is definitely a lack of resources in Tayside.”

Marc’s most recent stint in hospital was just last month, when he spent five days in the Carseview Centre in Dundee after being admitted following an appointment with his GP.

He said: “In Carseview, I felt people were left to their own devices.

“I asked my named nurse for a razor, saying I wanted to shave and I was told that as long as I wasn’t going to harm myself, I could have it.

“I then severely harmed my right arm with the razor and the wounds were gaping wide.

“I discussed with my family whether I should leave and we came to the joint decision that I should.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “Due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to comment on matters relating to individual patients.

“However, we can confirm we are in direct contact with the patient’s family.”

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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

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

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 
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‘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 

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NHS boss apologises for mental health service failings in Tayside

NHS boss apologises for mental health service failings in Tayside

The chief executive of NHS Tayside has publicly apologised to patients, family and staff for the failings of mental health services laid bare in a damning report.

Grant Archibald has also pledged that he personally will oversee and drive change and improvement in the mental health care offered by the health board.

Mr Archibald spoke to the Tele six days after the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services in Tayside was published.

David Strang’s Trust and Respect report identified 51 recommendations to be implemented to improve mental health services in Tayside.

It also highlighted numerous failings, including a breakdown of trust and respect, a failure to deliver services, a lack of psychiatrists, a lack of leadership and a lack of accountability.

Mr Archibald said: “We apologise, I apologise to all patients and families who have felt let down by services.

“Our aim is to care for each individual patient. I apologise if that has not happened.”

“Dr Strang’s report was hugely important for Tayside and for the people of Tayside.

“We recognised 18 month ago the level of concern there was over mental health services in Tayside. We responded by commissioning the independent review.

“We now realise that it is important that we now learn from this report which goes into  significant detail following interviews with 1,500 people during the process.

“It is important that we listen to these voices and to the experiences detailed by patients and others.

“First of all we apologise, we have listened and now we need to learn and change.

“We must rebuild confidence in the NHS and we recognise that that is not going to be easy.

“My 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.”

Among the recommendations the board are now going to look at are the provision of a 24/7  crisis care centre.

A review will also take place into its current facilities, including Carseview, to establish whether they are fit for purpose.

Meanwhile, allegations of bullying from staff will also be investigated, and the board is also going to attempt to identify new ways of attracting more staff, including more psychiatrists.

Mr Archibald said that the process of change had already begin, with a statement of intent now signed by him, the chief executives of the local authorities in the board area, and police

He added: “This will take time but we will be listening and  we are are committed to learning from past mistakes

“I personally will be playing a key role and will continually report back progress that is made.

“We are aware the the spotlight is now on us I will be ensuring that all the recommendations made by Dr Strang to improve mental health services are acted upon.”

“I recognise there are challenges with all of these issues but there is a real enthusiasm  to meet these challenges and improve mental health services provided by NHS Tayside.”

Mr Archibald said Dr Strang will return in a year’s time, by which point he hoped to “provide him with the evidence that change is actively taking place”.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here  

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‘They killed my son’: Mum hits out at NHS Tayside as report lays bare scale of mental health failings

‘They killed my son’: Mum hits out at NHS Tayside as report lays bare scale of mental health failings

Five years to the day since she buried her son, Mandy McLaren warned NHS Tayside her campaign for better mental health treatment was far from over.

The Dundee grandmother was one of the leading voices in securing an independent inquiry into the provision of mental health services in Tayside.

Her son Dale Thompson took his own life after receiving treatment at Carseview. A review into his death later found “systems failures” had been a contributing factor.

Dr David Strang’s long awaited report on the health authority’s performance was finally released yesterday, on the fifth anniversary of Dale’s funeral in February 2015.

Speaking after reading the highly critical 133-page document, Ms McLaren said she could not forgive NHS Tayside for its part in her son’s death.

“I am watching my granddaughter grow up without her dad because of them,” she said.

“I want her to know that we fought for him and he fought for help, but he wasn’t getting it.

“They killed my son. If they had done their jobs, he would still be alive.

“He was looking forward to the future. He went to them for help and they let him down. I blame them and will say that until the day I die.”

Ms McLaren said she was appalled that NHS Tayside had been allowed to run mental health services in an inadequate way for so long.

“Report after report has been done without anything being done,” she said.

“There’s a lot of blame and nobody is standing up and saying the buck stops here.

“I am not saying it’s staff at fault, but it comes down the line.

“In all professions you get some who are good at their job and some who are bad, but in this kind of job it is costing lives and it can’t continue.”

She said she wanted a sign that NHS Tayside would follow through on Dr Strang’s recommendations, after failing to take action in the past.

“They keep saying they will learn from mistakes, but they haven’t implemented what they been told before,” she said.

“Nothing has been done since the interim report was published last year. That’s not reassuring.”

Another campaigner, Phil Welsh said he was heartened by some of the recommendations in Dr Strang’s report and hopeful that other families would be spared the heartache which he had suffered.

Phil’s son Lee took his own life in 2017. He would have turned 30 next week.

Mr Welsh welcomed a suggestion that crisis provision should be available 24 hours a day – a measure which the Not In Vain For Lee campaign has called for.

Mr Welsh said: “The recommendations are really in line with what our campaign wants.

“It’s also good to read there should be more help for university students and young people.

“But it’s really important going forward that we get the support from local and national government.

“The recommendations need to be acted on.”

 

Link to Dundee Courier article here 

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‘One-stop-shop’ mental health hub for youngsters opens in Dundee

‘One-stop-shop’ mental health hub for youngsters opens in Dundee

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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