Mental health campaigners in Dundee say changes are not being made quick enough to crisis care, after a grandmother took her own life after being discharged from the Carseview Centre.
Yesterday we revealed that Stephanie Mitchell claimed Carseview was responsible for her mum Agnes Carrie’s death from suicide in November 2020.
Agnes battled with a range of mental health issues and for the last two years had been in the mental health centre numerous times.
However after the last time she was discharged from the mental health facility, Agnes took her own life on 9 November.
This comes after the Strang Report was published in February 2020 and made 51 different recommendations to completely overhaul mental health services in Tayside.
‘Agnes fell through the cracks’ – campaign group calls for changes to be made quickly
Phil Welsh, whose son Lee took his own life in August 2017, said the recommendations in the Strang Report are not being implemented quickly enough.
“This death was preventable because she had been in and out of hospital so many times and this wasn’t picked up.
“I am not hearing any differences in mental health services.
“People are not seeing dramatic changes when they go to ask for help.
“GPs just give you antidepressants and tell you to come back in a couple of weeks.
“But sometimes it is a change of lifestyle, exercise or dietary changes that are needed rather than medication.
“If you catch these people early it doesn’t always have to lead to suicide.”
One of things Phil is campaigning for is to get a 24-hour crisis centre set up in Dundee.
He added: “We want to get a 24-hour crisis centre – there is one in Edinburgh and it is absolutely brilliant.
“We have wanted that for Dundee since Lee died.
“If you call the Edinburgh centre you get seen that day and it could just be providing a safe space or having a chat, but you can also stay overnight if you need to.
“It would be a huge benefit to Dundee because it is proven to be absolutely fantastic.
“How many more Agneses does there have to be?
“Agnes fell through the cracks and that doesn’t instil much confidence in the implementation of the Strang Report recommendations.
“We need something in place to catch these people or there will just be more Lees and more Agneses.”
Services are being stretched to “breaking point”, says Dundee charity
Brook Marshall from Feeling Strong, a Dundee-based charity helping young people with mental health issues, said more money needs to be spent on mental health services to stop deaths like Agnes’s from happening.
He said: “We have seen a huge increase in both the number of young people booking into our peer listening service and the amount of young people accessing our website and downloading our resources.
“We think a lot of people think because everyone is struggling at the moment they are more reticent to ask for help because everyone is in the same boat and they can manage on their own.
“But anyone who needs help doesn’t need to rely on their own, there are face-to-face services available.
“We are aware services in the public and third sector are stretched to capacity and to breaking point in some cases.
“We call on the government to invest in these services and get money in the hands of small organisations like ourselves as well as the NHS as quickly as possible.”
Work is “progressing” on a rapid review of mental health services, says NHS Tayside
Kate Bell, interim director of mental health at NHS Tayside, said it has already implemented a third of the recommendations made in the Strang Report.
She said: “All recommendations in the ‘Trust and Respect’ report were accepted by the Tayside NHS Board in February 2020, with 49 of the 51 being for NHS Tayside and partners and two which will be delivered by the Scottish Government.
“NHS Tayside made a clear commitment to engage with all stakeholders in helping shape the delivery of mental health services in response to ‘Trust and Respect’.
“All of these recommendations being implemented were developed by engaging with all relevant stakeholders – including those with lived experience to co-create the ‘Listen, Learn, Change’ action plan submitted to the Scottish Government as a response to ‘Trust and Respect’ in July 2020.
“There is an ongoing process to implement all 49 recommendations, with more than a third complete and the remainder well under way.
“Some of the recommendations were short term and have now been addressed, such as improved levels of carer involvement in planning people’s care, strengthened support for junior doctors and other newly qualified practitioners, and anew student referral pathway.
“Thanks to the contributions of many people, especially those with lived experience, we have completed the Tayside mental health and wellbeing strategy ‘Living Life Well – a Lifelong Approach to Mental Health in Tayside’.
“The strategy has been co-created and co-produced with people from across Tayside, including those with lived or professional experience, members of the public, staff and other key stakeholders.
“The strategy can be viewed on the ‘Living Life Well’ website.
“The ‘Living Life Well’ website was also developed with input from key stakeholders and is a one-stop-shop for information and updates about the work going on to improve mental health and learning disability services across Tayside.
“Other recommendations are medium to long term, such as conducting a whole system review of mental health and wellbeing provision to set out a change programme for the redesign of mental health and wellbeing supports and services in Tayside.
“Work is also progressing on a rapid review of mental health inpatient services, and developing new models for urgent and crisis care and integrated substance use and mental health services.
“A new transition pathway for young people aged 18 to 24 is also being introduced.
“We will continue to work alongside all stakeholders and ensure that the voices of people with lived and professional experience will continue to feature strongly – and influence – the implementation and delivery of the strategy as we transform mental health services in Tayside.”
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