Dundee filmmaker hopes short film will help men in city open up about mental health struggles

Dundee filmmaker hopes short film will help men in city open up about mental health struggles

A Dundee filmmaker has released a short online video aimed at helping men in the city open up about their mental health battles.

“Mind Yersel” is a short, three minute film by 21-year-old,  Bonnie MacRae, and explores the devastating topic of male suicide in the city – which has the highest rate in Scotland.

“I watched first hand how suicide can affect a family, I’ve dealt with depression myself and then I came across an article saying Dundee was Scotland’s suicide capital and it wasn’t something that I was willing to just accept,” Bonnie said.

“When I first had the idea to turn the piece into a short film, I knew I wanted it to be totally about Dundee.”

The film features a small cast who all hail from the City of Discovery, something which Bonnie felt was pivotal to the project.

She added: “Every person featured in the film is born and bred Dundee, and that was really important to me.

“Real boys in Dundee need to see themselves represented in the media, they need to know that they’re not alone in feeling a certain way. I have a younger brother and wanted him to watch it and see a little bit of himself in the film.”

The young filmmaker, who is from Broughty Ferry, was also full of praise for the film’s leading man, who narrated the short video and also appeared on camera throughout.

“Stephen McMillan features and I think he’s totally done both Dundee and the topic justice,” Bonnie said.

“He was on board with the film as soon as he read the script having personally experienced similar issues. He genuinely inspires me and I’m so lucky to have had him involved, Dundee should be proud of him.

“I think it’s had such a big impact already because of how close to home it hits. People watch and see someone opening up who speaks the same way they do, who walks the same streets as them – that was imperative.

Bonnie hopes that through watching the video, people of all ages and backgrounds in the city will be encouraged to seek help if they are struggling and hopefully save lives.

She added: “This film isn’t me preaching on how to cure depression, but I hope that in making the film I’ve started a long overdue conversation that needed to be had in Dundee.”

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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‘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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Family of tragic Dundee man aiming to raise thousands more for city charity

Family of tragic Dundee man aiming to raise thousands more for city charity

A mum and dad who have been campaigning for a 24-hour crisis centre after their son took his own life have revealed their plans to raise thousands for a mental health charity.

Dad Lee Welsh tragically took his own life in August 2017 leaving behind a seven-year-old daughter, Poppy.

Lee, who was just 23, had battled mental health issues for almost a decade before he committed suicide.

In the years since, Phil and Lee’s mum Lesley Nicoll have been raising money for local mental health charities while continuing to campaign for a self referral crisis centre to help people who find themselves with nowhere to turn.

In only two years they have raised more than £10,500 for city charities and this year they hope to raise  thousands more, topping the total amount raised last year. All the money is raised under the banner Not In Vain for Lee.

Phil said: “Our aim is to raise more money than last year for Haven and we already have three main events lined up.

“We will once more hold our soup and pudding lunch in May, there is a charity football match in June, and we will take part in the university abseil in August.

“We will also continue to hold a number of other small fundraising events and initiatives throughout the year all in Lee’s name.”

Phil said: “The Hearing Voices Network Dundee (Haven) is a small, service user-led charity which seeks to create acceptance that hearing voices is a valid experience.

“Haven provides support to voice hearers through a variety of projects, self-help groups, activities and supported volunteering.

“Our main aim continues to be a crisis centre. We were encouraged that in his independent inquiry report into mental health services, Dr David Strang spoke in favour of such a centre.

 

Link to Evening Telegraph article here 

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Record high child mental health waiting numbers in Scotland

Record high child mental health waiting numbers in Scotland

The number of children and adolescents waiting to see a mental health specialist has reached record numbers, new figures show.

At the end of December, there were 10,820 young people waiting to start treatment at CAMHS.

This compares with 9,337 during the same period in 2018 and a low of 7,620 in December 2017.

The official stats show that two-thirds of children were seen within 18 weeks, well below the 90% target.

The Scottish government standard states children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to CAMHS.

In the last three months of last year only NHS Borders, NHS Orkney and NHS Western Isles met the standard, with NHS Lothian seeing less than half within the allotted timeframe.

The statistics show 272 children and young people who were seen during the final quarter of 2019 had waited over a year.

A further 589 children who were still waiting at the end of December had already been waiting over a year.

There were 3,884 children and young people starting treatment in the final quarter of 2019, a 14.1% decrease from the same quarter in 2018.

There are now more than 30,000 open cases in CAMHS.

Mental health problems

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition said the waiting time figures highlighted the “desperate need” for increased investment.

A spokesman said: “The simple fact is that we are continuing to fail thousands of children and young people with mental health problems, and more clearly needs to be done to address this epidemic.”

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said the Scottish government was creating new CAMHS posts as well as strengthening the support available in communities and schools.

She said: “This year’s Programme for Government builds on this progress even further.”

That includes community wellbeing services for children and young people and a new 24/7 crisis support service, Ms Haughey said.

Scottish Labour’s Mary Fee said: “At a time when youth suicides have been increasing these figures should shame SNP ministers into action.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Problems that start small are becoming crises as help arrives too late.”

He called for a mental health practitioner in every GP practice and new 24 hours a day service in A&E.

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