The success of a new approach to supporting mental health issues in Dundee has been hailed as a national success.
Making Recovery Real, which has been trialed in Dundee, brings people who have battled mental health challenges together with professionals, to decide the best support to offer in the city.
Participants from Making Recovery Real in Dundee traveled to Edinburgh to speak at a Scottish Recovery Network about how the scheme works.
They premiered a short film showing how people with experience of mental health issues could give their perspective on what helped them and go on to offer support to others.
It is hoped that the project will be adapted by communities across Scotland looking for a new approach to developing and accessing mental health support.
One of the service users, Rona Foy, said working with people who had similar experiences helped her see how the group could help her and she is now supporting others.
“I saw other people flourish that were on the group and they started to become more confident and wanted to help other people.
“It has given me lots of different opportunities and it has just been great.
“I am going to be facilitating a peer to peer course myself after doing on which is exciting and I just think it’s so worthwhile.”
The participants worked with professionals from Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership, NHS Tayside, Dundee City Council and Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action (DVVA), among others.
Ruth Brown, team leader of mental health engagement and involvement at DVVA and chairwoman of the Making Recovery Real partners group said: “Our work with Scottish Recovery Network has been transformational for individuals who live with mental health challenges, for mental health organisations, and for our strategic planning and delivery mechanisms in the city.
“It enabled us to work more effectively together, to make better decisions, to keep lived experience at the centre of all we do, to maintain our focus on recovery and to invest in growing peer support.”
The organisation has to find £860,000 to balance its budget this year and aims to do this through a combination of cuts and price increases.
The cuts include reducing the resource budget of libraries – the money available for new books and periodicals – and cutting staff numbers through voluntary redundancy and early retirement.
The organisation, which also runs the McManus, Camperdown and Caird Park golf courses and the Olympia Swimming Pool, said it may not replace all departing staff in order to keep costs down.
Sean McNamara, head of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland, said cuts to library services can have serious long-term consequences.
He said: “We realise that council services are under severe financial pressure and difficult decisions need to be made.
“However, cuts to resources and staffing can impact on vital services that libraries provide for communities.
“Libraries and their skilled staff help improve literacy levels as well as tackling social isolation and supporting mental health and they also play a key role in the current digital strategy for Scotland by providing free access for people unable to get online at home.
“Any local authority considering cutting budgets must ensure they have fully assessed the long-term impact any cuts may have.
”Labour group leader Kevin Keenan said “slashing the culture budget” was the wrong thing to do when Dundee is trying to promote itself as one of Scotland’s leading cultural destinations.
He said: “Obviously, I am deeply disappointed to hear there is a potential load of job losses.
“When we are trying to attract people and tourists here with things like the V&A, slashing the culture budget does not seem like the thing to do.”
A report to Dundee City Council’s policy and resources committee this year revealed that Dundee has the highest percentage of citizens who are library users out of all of the Scottish authorities.
Nine of the 13 libraries showed an increase in visits in 2016-2017.
The Central Library is Scotland’s busiest.
Last year there were concerns cuts could lead to restricted opening times in some city libraries.
A spokesman for Leisure and Culture Dundee said there were currently no plans to reduce opening times.
He said: “There are no changes to opening hours at this time.”
Health chiefs in Tayside have stated having two centres of excellence is the only safe way forward for inpatient mental health services.
The decision was taken at a meeting of Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board following months of consultation, campaigning and protest.
It will see general adult psychiatry acute admissions centralised at the Carseview Centre at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital.
Learning disability inpatient services will be provided at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth alongside other specialist services, including rehabilitation and substance misuse.
The decision will see services relocated from the outdated Strathmartine Hospital and the Mulberry unit at Stracathro Hospital in Angus.
The board voted five to one (an abstention) in favour of the preferred option.
Clinicians believe the steps will secure the future of inpatient services, improve the quality of service and environment available to patients and make services more attractive to potential staff.
Individual health and social care partnerships in Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross will be working to enhance mental and health and learning disability services in local communities, where 94% of mental health care is delivered.
More than 100,000 people took part in an often-criticised consultation process and more than 57% of those who responded said they were against the proposals.
NHS Tayside’s medical director Andy Russell, however, said the present model of care could not continue, with the redesign proposed “the only safe option”.
Tayside health bosses are set to press ahead with the relocation of major mental health services, in the face of widespread opposition.
A consultation on moving all acute mental health services for the region to Dundee’s Carseview Centre — resulting in the closure of the recently renovated Mulberry Unit at Stracathro Hospital — ended in October.
The survey also asked for views on the relocation of learning disability services from Carseview and Strathmartine Hospital to wards at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth.
Service users, the public and community groups from Dundee, Perth and Angus all voiced their disapproval of the plans — but health bosses at the Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board, which will make a final decision on the plans in January, have indicated they intend to carry out the “necessary” changes.
A draft feedback statement said: “It is clear from the consultation that the majority of people would prefer to receive their health care close to where they live.
“The challenge to mental health services is balancing this with the need to provide safe inpatient services which are high quality and provide best value for money.”
During the feedback, 57% opposed relocating Tayside’s acute mental health services to Carseview, in Tom McDonald Avenue.
In addition, 59% of respondents were against relocating all inpatient learning disability services to Perth.
Several community and support groups expressed “major” concerns about rural patients’ ability to access services should the move go ahead.
However, health bosses believe centralising services is the “safest, most sustainable” way of looking after patients.
The preferred option is expected to be formally approved in January, with refurbishment of Carseview commencing in November 2018 and the full “transformation” programme completed by June 2020.
Phil Welsh, whose son Lee was found dead at his home in Dundee’s West End in July having experienced mental health problems for a decade, said the plan was “a travesty” for people with mental health problems in Tayside.
Phil said: “What you are going to have is people who are experiencing mental health problems, that need to be seen by a crisis team rapidly, having to get to Dundee on a bus, in a taxi or relying on someone to give them a lift. It is putting stress onto people who are already in a very stressful situation.”
Mairi Gougeon, MSP for Angus North and Mearns, said: “I’m absolutely staggered that I am learning about this proposal through the media and not directly from anyone at NHS Tayside.
“However, sadly, it is in keeping with the way this entire consultation process has been conducted. I still firmly believe that the consultation process was biased, over-complicated and heavily weighted towards the preferred option.”
North East region MSP Liam Kerr described the consultation process as “a sham”.
He said: “I have real concerns about contingency plans if something goes wrong at Carseview, once the dust settles.”
Robert Packham (right), chief officer for Perth & Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “This feedback forms a critical part of the evidence which will be presented to the NHS Tayside board and the Angus, Dundee and Perth & Kinross Integration Joint Board during December and January.
“If the preferred option is approved, NHS Tayside and the health and social care partnerships are committed to continuing conversations with staff, service users, carers, partner organisations and local communities to address the issues they have raised and look at ways of minimising the impact of the proposed changes.”
The following video was lifted from STV’s North Tonight. the quality of the video is not brilliant, however, it would be good to receive some opinion regarding the training of police officers to make the decision whether an individual with mental health issues should be referred to Carseview by means of a telephone conversation. Also it should be noted that often a person may not express the anxiety they are currently experiencing over the phone. Often the physical actions of an individual can reveal much more than what a telephone consultation can.
In addition to the article/video above, I received this observation regarding the subject from a friend of a friend on Facebook. Please share any opinion or experience you have regarding this particular subject in our contact section. Which you can find here