The number of people with mental health issues being readmitted to hospital in Tayside within a month of their discharge is increasing.
More than 16% of Tayside adults discharged from hospital, having been admitted on mental health grounds, were back within a month in 2016/17, according to new figures.
The readmission rate has increased from 11.9% in 2012/13.
NHS Tayside is above the Scottish average for mental health hospital readmissions in the most recent statistics compiled by ISD Scotland.
At 16.3%, it was behind only NHS boards in Dumfries & Galloway and Lothian.
The majority of patients readmitted after an initial stay in hospital were affected by mood disorders (36.9%), delusional type disorders (19.2%) and adult personality and behavioural disorders (15.8%).
North East Scottish Conservative MSP Bill Bowman said the increase in readmissions for depression is “very troubling”.
The ISD figures also recorded NHS Tayside region had the fourth highest suicide rate in Scotland, behind Forth Valley, Highlands and Orkney – 14.4 per 100,000 between 2012 and 2016.
Mr Bowman said: “At some point, one in four people will experience a mental health condition.
“NHS Tayside staff are doing their best to deal with the growing number of people who come to them with symptoms of depression and low mood.
“Because Tayside has such a high suicide rate, NHS Tayside needs resources to dig into why people come back to hospital so quickly.
“If it’s because of underfunding in areas run by councils and community healthcare partnerships, the SNP government needs to assess the potential damage it is doing by making cuts to local authority budgets.”
A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “Mental illnesses can be unpredictable and there are many reasons why a patient may require to be readmitted following discharge from hospital.
“Patients can sometimes experience a new episode of illness for which admission to hospital is the most appropriate course of treatment.
“Patients are discharged following clinical assessment from a consultant psychiatrist and are followed up locally within the community.
“There is no direct relationship between the length of time a patient is in hospital and the need to be readmitted.”
She added: “Anyone can become suicidal; the reasons can be different and very complex and it is not always due to mental illness. Each suicide is a tragedy and the impact on those left behind lasts a lifetime.
“Every suicide in Tayside is comprehensively reviewed by the Tayside multi-agency Suicide Review Group to look at the circumstances surrounding each individual case.
“f people are feeling suicidal, the best thing to do is talk and tell someone how they are feeling. Speak to someone you can trust or call a helpline. If you’re worried that someone else is suicidal, ask them – asking someone directly about their feelings can help them.”
Further help and information can be found by downloading the “Suicide? Help!” app, visiting www.suicidehelp.co.uk or calling NHS 24 on 111, Samaritans on Freephone 116 123 or Breathing Space on 0800 838587 or www.breathingspacescotland.co.uk
An independent inquiry into mental health services in Tayside is currently under way.
A grieving mum is still seeking answers 11 years after her son died at the Carseview Centre.
Gavin Allan was just 26 when he died from the “adverse affects of heroin” on January 17 2008.
His mum Wilma Hughes, from Douglas, said she still doesn’t know what happened in the hours leading up to her son’s death.
Wilma said: “I’m still looking for answers about how my son was able to get the drugs that ultimately killed him.
“It’s 11 years since Gavin died but I’m still grieving.
“I’ve decided to speak out now because things like this are still happening.
“Nothing can be done that will bring my son back but I want to speak out and stop this happening to someone else’s loved one.”
Wilma said that although he was never properly diagnosed, she believed Gavin could have been suffering from ADHD as a teenager.
She said: “I took him to the doctor but I was just told he was boisterous.”
Wilma said after he left school aged 16, Gavin started to dabble in drugs – but she wasn’t aware of that at the time.
She said by the time her son was in his 20s, he was smoking heroin and had to give up work.
“One night Gavin came to me and said he needed help,” Wilma said.
“He came to stay with me for a while but he became increasingly unwell and was suffering from mental health issues.
“He was on prescribed medication for drug-induced psychosis but things came to a head when he fell from his bedroom window and I found him lying on the ground.”
Gavin spent time in hospital following the incident, as well as a period in Carseview.
Wilma said: “It was while he was in Carseview and supposedly under 24-hour supervision that he was able to get away and find the drugs that resulted in his death.
“He managed to slip away, get himself to the Hilltown and bought heroin. He brought it back to Carseview and took it there. I don’t understand how he was able to leave the hospital without them knowing and without the staff being aware that he was missing. I want justice for my son.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “Our thoughts remain with the family.
“Due to patient confidentiality, we cannot comment on matters relating to individual patients.”
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.”
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.
Dave Barrie, service manager with Addaction, said the new strategy is being put in place following changes in the way people with an addiction to powerful opiates such as heroin are helped.
Previously, all those with heroin addictions would be referred to the NHS for treatment via Addaction.
But now users can go directly to the Tayside Substance Misuse Service, based in Constitution House.
Mr Barrie said the charity is now focusing more on people with problems with other drugs and those whose addiction to opiates isn’t at the stage of a long-term addiction.
He said: “Previously, everyone in Dundee who had an alcohol or drug problem would come through Addaction. That’s changed, and now people can go directly for NHS treatment.
“We are now looking at having a more preventative approach to substance misuse.
“We will be looking at helping people who are starting to have problems with drugs, or are recognising some concerns about their drug or alcohol intake.
“We are really looking to support people much earlier on in their alcohol or drug use.
“With the Dundee Drugs Commission being set up, the spotlight is on services in Dundee, so we really want to help people whose drug problems are less entrenched than the ones we previously helped, some of whom have been drug addicts for decades.
“It may be people with problems with other drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines. Often we find issues with these drugs can lead to problem with other drugs such as diazepam or heroin, as folk start to use these drugs to bring them down following a binge.
“We are starting to go into some hostels, chemists and GP surgeries in Dundee for drop-in sessions. If we can get into those venues, then we think we can access people sooner. What we’ve found is we can help people and point them in the direction of the support they need for other things.
“We previously had a presence in the Carseview Centre and it was received well. We realise people with mental health problems, housing problems and other health problems often have substance misuse problems and can be accessed at these places.”
Dave said another key focus would be supporting the family members of those who have drug or alcohol problems, as well as people who have lost a loved one to overdose.
He said: “We recognise that there is a huge isolation and stigma attached to drug addiction and being the parent or family member of someone who is an addict.
“If you have people around you to support you then it makes it so much easier to deal with.
“When you think of the year we have had for drugs deaths – every one of those people leaves behind extended families who are all left grieving.”