As NHS Tayside reviews local mental health services it must look to provide a new facility, offering emergency support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week where people can self-refer.
The Crisis Centre would provide access to counsellors and support in a home-like environment allowing people time and space to seek appropriate help. Other cities have modern and personal services like this. Dundee needs a Mental Health Crisis Centre, urgently.
The father of a young Dundee man who took his own life has welcomed the launch of a petition calling for a mental health crisis centre in the city.
Talented musician Lee Welsh died on August 8 last year. Now, almost a year after his death, a petition has been started in a bid to secure a 24/7 self-refer mental health crisis centre.
Since Lee’s death, his dad Phil has been campaigning for better mental health provision in Dundee under the banner Not in Vain for Lee.
Among his ideas is a crisis centre similar to one in Edinburgh. The centre in Edinburgh is funded by NHS Lothian, Edinburgh City Council and mental health charity Penumbra.
Phil said: “Something needs to change so people having a mental health crisis can have immediate access to support.”
The petition states: “As NHS Tayside reviews local mental health services, it must look to provide a new facility, offering emergency support 24 hours a day, seven days a week where people can self-refer.
“The crisis centre would provide access to counsellors and support in a home-like environment allowing people time and space to seek appropriate help.”
MSP Jenny Marra supports the campaign and said: “It would be designed to support the current system, which is too often unable to offer care quickly enough.”
Robert Packham, chief officer for Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “NHS Tayside provides support for people in Dundee in a mental health crisis 24-hours-a-day.
“The crisis intervention and home treatment service in Dundee assesses all psychiatric emergencies within office hours.
“Any person who attends Accident & Emergency in a mental health crisis would be seen by the liaison psychiatry service. There is also an emergency team based at Carseview Centre which operates out of hours.
“The nursing team is supported by on-call psychiatrists and sees people in crisis directly and referred from A&E.
“NHS Tayside has established an independent inquiry chaired by David Strang to review mental health services in Tayside.
“In the meantime, we are working with clinical, nursing and other staff to identify and act upon any areas which may benefit from improvement.”
A new mental health charity has received a cash boost to help it start its work with young people.
Feeling Strong has been awarded nearly £3,000 from Business Youth Fund.
The group was set up by Brook Marshall after he identified a gap in support for young people living with mental health problems.
The former Abertay University student president wanted to create positive places where people with mental health issues could hone their skills, boost their confidence and get help to reach their goals.
Currently, Brook and the team of volunteers are running two projects funded by Dundee Youth Fund.
One of its projects is Dundee Can Listen, which puts young people in front of elected officials to talk about their experiences with local services and discuss the impact they have had on their mental health.
The group also has a digital guide with information on the support available.
Potential future projects include school visits and matching young people with role models to show them how they live with mental health illnesses.
Mr Marshall said: “While I was at university, I was involved in campaigning and advocacy and after graduating it was natural that I would continue this type of work.
“I’ve had personal experiences with mental health issues and I felt that there was still a lot that could be done, especially when it came to early intervention.
“I decided that the best way to tackle this was to set up my own charity filling the gaps between NHS services such as counselling. I wanted Feeling Strong to be about improving the lives of people by helping them gain confidence and developing skills which can then lead to employment and living a fuller life in general.”
The charity hopes to work with 200 young people in Dundee and the surrounding areas over the next year before expanding further afield.
Mr Marshall went to Business Gateway to learn skills that would be transferable to running a charity. He learned how to put together an operational plan and gained knowledge of finances, recruitment and tax issues.
“This support has been really important as it allowed me to set up Feeling Strong in the correct manner with a plan to follow in future,” he added.
“I’m really excited about Feeling Strong and it’s by far the best thing I’ve ever done. I hope in future we will be operational throughout Scotland working with a mix of paid staff and volunteers.”
Lynn Maccabe, from Business Gateway Dundee, said: “Although Brook was setting up a charity, essentially they need to have the same skills as any business owner and so we focused our support on areas they will use on a day-to-day basis.
“Knowing how to deal with finances and how to implement plans are crucial for any enterprise and as Feeling Strong grows Brook knows we are on hand to offer additional expertise in new areas.”
Mental health services for children and young people are under pressure.
IT was heartening to see one of the first actions of the new Scottish Government Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, being to recognise as “completely unacceptable” the fact that one in five children and young people seeking mental health treatment are having this rejected.
As an organisation that campaigns to improve mental health services, we have previously expressed our concerns over the increased demand on child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and that fact that such a high number of these children and young people who are referred for treatment have it rejected, often with no explanation or with no alternative support provided. This leaves many thousands of vulnerable children and young people in a state of limbo.
An audit commissioned by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and NHS Information Services Division was undertaken on behalf of the Scottish Government to review this situation. What is clear from the recently published report is that for many of these young people their needs are not viewed as being severe enough to warrant CAMHS; however appropriate alternative support is lacking.
Many children, young people and their families highlighted that they have received a rejection letter within a very short timescale, and feel angry, aggrieved, cheated and let down due to a feeling that no proper assessment process has been undertaken.
More disturbingly, it appears that some clearly require treatment but this is being rejected, often without any face-to-face meeting with a specialist. In fact, only 31 per cent of those who undertook an online survey got a face-to-face assessment, and the majority were rejected on the basis of a written referral.
It was disturbing to read the harrowing first-hand accounts of the experiences of young people and their families. This includes some believing that they would not be seen unless they were suicidal or at risk of harm, and the impact that failure to get good enough treatment has on mental health, often with the situation for them worsening and then entering a crisis situation. There was evidence also of those who were self-harming, but whose condition was not deemed severe enough to warrant treatment. Situations such as this are wholly unacceptable.
It is pleasing to see the Cabinet Secretary fully accepting the 29 recommendations outlined in the report on these rejected referrals and create a new CAMHS Taskforce, headed by mental health expert, Dr Dame Denise Coia, backed with £5 million of investment to reshape and improve CAMHS.
One of the key recommendations in the report was the requirement for increased investment in CAMHS and the provision of alternative support services, for those who may not require CAMHS, with mandatory signposting to these. And yet we have seen cuts to these support services over the years. If we are to deliver the support these children and young people need we need greater investment not only in CAMHS, but in such alternative services.
It was heartening to also note the desire for a nationwide provision of schools-based services recognised. Investing a fraction of the mental health budget on school-based counselling services, for example, helps to keep children in school and avoid unnecessary and often stigmatising mental health diagnoses.
Issues around mental health represent one of the greatest public health challenges of our time and we urge the new Cabinet Secretary to put mental health at the very heart of the Scottish Government health agenda, providing the high quality mental health support that our children and young people deserve.
Dundee-based Labour MSP Jenny Marra said the allegations were “horrifically worrying.”
NHS Tayside has said it will investigate the patients’ allegations.
Following the documentary, another former Carseview patient told BBC Scotland that she felt “traumatised” following her time in the unit and said it should be closed.
The Scottish government said the accusations were “very concerning” and that they had “been clear” that NHS Tayside must “swiftly investigate any allegations of mistreatment or breaches of patients’ rights.”
Ms Marra said she had been given “cast-iron assurances” two years ago during a visit to the unit that “everything was fine” and that “these problems don’t exist.”
She said: “Now clearly that just wasn’t true.
“I am calling today on the cabinet secretary for health to put NHS Tayside mental health services into crisis measures because this is about public confidence.
“People in Dundee and Tayside need to know that their loved ones are being properly cared for.
“And from what we have seen on the documentary, people are being failed, there is clearly no doubt about it.”
David Strang, the former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, will chair an independent inquiry into mental health services across NHS Tayside.
The allegations made in the BBC documentary will be included in the inquiry.
Ms Marra, who has called for a new team of doctors to be brought into Carseview, said: “It’s supposed to report in September, they really need now to speed up this process.”
Former patient Daisy Stewart, who was first admitted to Carseview aged 17, said she could “totally relate” to many of the accusations in the programme.
She said: “I felt like the restraints were kind of like punishment rather than the other hospitals I’d been in.
“They’ve tried to make it supportive, whereas in Carseview it feels like you’re a nuisance and they just want to quieten you.”
Miss Stewart said she was mixed in with “a lot of people who were taking drugs or had taken drugs.”
She said that her time in the unit did her “no good at all” and called for Carseview to be closed.
She said: “I’d say it nearly killed me.
“I’m surprised I got through it and I still feel really traumatised from it to the point where I still don’t really trust mental health professionals very much.
“I definitely felt more traumatised from Carseview than the trauma I had when I originally went in.
“The whole place has a vibe that is not healthy for a person without mental illness, never mind someone with depression.”
Miss Stewart’s mother Lisa said that on one occasion her daughter had left Carseview and phoned her from a shop after taking an overdose.
Ms Stewart called Carseview and was told that her daughter was sleeping. After checking, staff discovered she was not there.
She said: “I said, is someone going to get her? “No. we’re too busy for that.”
“So I had to go and the police were there and they said this happens all the time, nobody comes to get them.”
Ms Stewart said she could not take her daughter from the unit as she had been admitted under section.
She said: “I wanted to get her out because I felt she was more in danger in there than she was out.”
Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said: “I will be expecting an early update from NHS Tayside on their investigation and the action they intend to take.”
The minister said Mr Strang’s appointment marked the independent inquiry’s “first key milestone” for families.
She said: “I also note NHS Tayside has today appointed Prof Keith Matthews as a new associate medical director for mental health services.
“His background and clinical leadership will play an important part in working to transform mental health services across the region.”
NHS staff have been offered counselling to cope with the trauma of watching a BBC documentary criticising an under-fire mental health unit.
Experts have been put on standby to support doctors and nurses at the Carseview Centre, in Dundee , who may be adversely affected by the hard-hitting programme.
Last night relatives of young patients who either committed suicide or were bullied at the unit reacted furiously to the decision
One mum told us: “It’s one rule for one and one rule for another – what about support and counselling for relatives and family of those who died or were bullied there? There’s nothing for the real victims.”
The BBC Scotland programme – that aired last night – interviewed patients who alleged they’d been pinned to the floor and bullied on wards where illegal drugs were rife.
They claimed Carseview staff used face-down restraints violently and repeatedly over the past five years.
The centre has about 80 beds and is the biggest mental health unit in Tayside treating hundreds of patients every year.
It is the subject of an independent inquiry into mental health services after families of suicide victims campaigned for changes.
Last week NHS bosses sent an email offering support to any staff affected by the programme.
It said: “The BBC has advised us that they have spoken to 29 patients and families and the programme will contain patient testimonies which allege bullying, inappropriate use of restraint and widespread use and sale of illegal drugs.
“This is obviously going to be an upsetting time for staff and so the Mental Health Leadership team, along with staff side representatives, will be meeting with staff at Carseview over the coming days to discuss the programme and offer support to anyone who may be affected by this.”
It added that an expert from the Wellbeing Centre at the city’s Royal Victoria Hospital, would also be on hand to offer any “additional” support.
But last night Mandy McLaren and Jackie Hawes – whose sons Dale and Harry committed suicide while being treated by Carseview – demanded to know why victims’ relatives weren’t offered help.
Mandy said: “There has been nothing whatsoever for the families from NHS Tayside. All they’ve done is say sorry, pay expensive lawyers to defend FAIs and let us get on with it. Start doing your jobs properly and sort these issues out.”
While Jackie added: “We’ve had no support since Harry died, we’ve just been left to get on with it. It’s not fair. It’s fine to support the staff, but offer help to the grieving families too. “
Mandy McLaren (left) has slammed the FAI on her son Dale Thomson’s death as a ‘whitewash’
Dale Thomson’s mother Mandy McLaren feels let down after her son’s death was ruled “unavoidable” despite systemic failures at the Carseview psychiatric centre in Dundee.
A grieving mum has branded the inquiry into her depressed son’s death a whitewash “covering people’s backsides”.
A sheriff ruled Dale Thomson’s death was “unavoidable” despite systemic failures at the Carseview psychiatric centre in Dundee.
Dale’s mother Mandy McLaren said: “Nothing will ever get done if people in the NHS don’t start taking responsibility for their actions. None of these FAIs achieve anything. People are too scared to tell the truth.
“It is a box-ticking exercise for the health boards. It’s all about covering backsides.”
It’s the second time this year Carseview has been criticised for its treatment of patients who took their own lives.
It emerged in May that David Ramsay, 50, was found dead in October 2016 after being sent home and told he should walk his dog.
It has also emerged that 44 patients had to wait a year to begin therapy at the unit. Dad-of-one Dale, 28, had told his GP in January 2015 of suicidal thoughts and was sent to Carseview for an emergency assessment.
He was sent home but taken back in by police after he threatened to burn down houses.
Again he was allowed out and went back to his GP on January 22, reporting the same symptoms. Dale was given an urgent assessment at Carseview the following day but was put on medication and told to go back to his GP if he felt worse.
Four days later, on January 27, he was dead.
During a fatal accident inquiry this year, procurator fiscal depute Steven Quither claimed a “chance was missed” by NHS Tayside staff to prevent the tragedy.
He said: “Further assessments should have been considered as Mr Thomson was exhibiting a wide range of bizarre behaviour and had a background of depression. But there was a lack of assessment and a chance missed. It may have led to a different outcome.”
Yesterday, Sheriff George Way released his report in which he said “there were no reasonable precautions whereby the death of Dale Thomson might have been avoided”.
But he listed a string of “relevant” factors relating to his death.
The sheriff said there were “serious systemic failures” in Dale’s care and added: “Whilst I cannot establish a causal link to his death, they are indisputably relevant facts.”
He wrote: “It seems to me that a window of opportunity closed when Mr Thomson realised nothing was actually happening.”
But he concluded: “The failures of Carseview are perfectly clear. They should not have occurred.
“I, however, accept that all these issues have been addressed and corrected. I have, therefore, no recommendations to make for the future.”
Mandy hit back: “This report is one contradiction after another. It’s a joke.
“Until things change, more young people are going to die – it’s as simple as that.”
NHS Tayside staff are being offered support before a BBC documentary is aired claiming to ‘lift the lid’ on a troubled Dundee mental health facility.
Former patients at the Carseview Centre tell the makers of Breaking Point they were “pinned to the floor in agony and bullied” on the hospital’s wards as well as claiming illegal drugs are rife.
It comes as an inquiry into the state of mental health services in Tayside is launched after claims the psychiatric care unit failed suicidal patients.
It also comes just a day after a fatal accident inquiry into the death of Dale Thomson, who committed suicide after discharging himself from Carseview in 2015, concluded his death was “unavoidable”.
NHS Tayside’s chairman John Brown and chief executive Malcolm Wright have now alerted staff to the documentary, which airs on Monday, and offered support to “anyone affected”.
The pair, who replaced Professor John Connell and Lesley McLay respectively earlier this year amid revelations of financial mismanagement, issued a joint statement sent out by email to all NHS Tayside staff.
In it, they pay thanks to all staff who are making “difficult” and “sensitive” decisions.
The email states: “Thank you for all the work you do every day.
“We know you are making difficult and balanced sensitive decisions and we want to offer you our support as you continue to develop and implement improvements across your services.
“If there is any assistance we can provide, please speak to your line managers and they can alert the mental health leadership team.”
Exam stress and debt coupled to lack of support is creating increased stress and depression
University students face a mental health crisis due to exam pressures and spiraling debts.
Student body NUS Scotland issued the stark warning as new figures reveal that students seeking counselling has nearly doubled in the past five years.
There were 8,180 requests for counselling support in 2016/17, up from 4,541 in 2012/13/
Although greater awareness of mental health support partly accounts for the rise in those seeking help, NUS Scotland says student mental health is worsening because of exam stress, part-time working and debt.
There are now 55 part time counsellors in Scotland’s universities compared to 21 in 2012.
The body is calling for increased resources from the Scottish Government to tackle the problem.
Liam McCabe, president of NUS Scotland, said: “Across Scotland, universities are seeing demand rocket, while resources are increasingly stretched.
“While everyone can experience mental ill-health, student life comes with huge pressures – from balancing study with part-time work to finding a new home or a job come graduation time.
“While it’s vital to tackle the causes of these pressures it’s also crucial that counselling services are in place to help those students whose mental health is affected.”
Andrew Reeves, chair of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, called for better support for students in universities.
“It is deeply concerning if universities are considering downgrading or reducing counselling services within their institutions, particularly surrounding complex mental health needs amongst students,” he said.
David Lott, deputy director of Universities Scotland, said the welfare of students was a top priority.
“We want to help our students with their problems as early as possible and students in need should speak to staff,” he said.
“We are aware that the demand for mental health services is rising at our institutions and that, more broadly, there are challenges faced by these type of services.
“We also know that poor mental health does not discriminate when it comes to age, status or background.”