Charity match for tragic Dundee man Lee Welsh in doubt over bouncy castle laws

Charity match for tragic Dundee man Lee Welsh in doubt over bouncy castle laws

Lee Welsh’s parents, Phil Welsh and Lesley Nicoll, next to a mural painted in Lee’s honour.



Hundreds back petition calling for action to make Tay Road Bridge safer

Hundreds back petition calling for action to make Tay Road Bridge safer

Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for action to make the Tay Road Bridge safer for people who are thinking of ending their lives.

An online petition demanding measures are put in place to make it harder for people to consider using the bridge to take their own lives.

The petition has amassed nearly 400 signatures at time of writing, with a target of 500.

It calls for measures such as barriers to be installed in protect vulnerable people.

Michael Low started the petition after a friend took their own life.

He said: “My personal mission is to take this to the authorities.

“The fact is there needs to be higher fencing or other materials or methods to ensure that the Tay Road Bridge is no longer available in a person’s hour of distress.”

The petition has been backed by Phil Welsh, who lost his son Lee to suicide in August 2017.

Phil said: “The bridge needs to be looked at with the evidence that things like barriers can’t be put in place.

“As well as supporting the petition, I have sent a letter to the bridge board asking about protections on the bridge. I haven’t heard anything back yet.

“We’re just trying to keep the conversation going as much as we can because there’s a lot more that can be done to help people in need.

“We’ve also been campaigning for a 24-hour crisis centre, like in Edinburgh.

“I do think they should look at what can be done at the bridge, with barriers being a big one. If it is the case that they can’t put barriers in place then that’s fine, but I would like to see evidence supporting that.

“All routes should be followed before making a decision.

“The grassroots support should be there to help people before they get to that stage, but there should still be something at the bridge.”

Officials from the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board have examined such measures and ultimately decided it was not feasible to make any substantial changes to the bridge’s structure.

The bridge deck cantilevers — long beams or girders commonly used in bridge construction — would be unable to support additional barriers because of the strain windy weather would put on them, it has been claimed.

Board vice-chairman Jonny Tepp said the bridge management are actively looking at ways to make the bridge safe.

“They do their best to make themselves aware of what action can be taken,” the Liberal Democrat councillor for Tay Bridgehead said.

Dundee City Council also launched an online campaign last month highlighting where people can go for support if they are having suicidal thoughts.

If you need help, or need someone to talk to, a Samaritans volunteers can help.
Contact them on 116 123, or email

Dundee has highest suicide rate in mainland Scotland as numbers rise across the country

Dundee has highest suicide rate in mainland Scotland as numbers rise across the country

Dundee has one of the highest rates of suicide in Scotland as the national figure rises.

Data published by the ISD (information services division) show that 784 probable suicides took place in the country in 2018 — a 15% rise on the 680 recorded in 2017.

There had been a dip in overall rates across Scotland between 2013 and 2015, but it has steadily risen since then.

In Dundee, 19 people per 100,000 people have committed suicide in the last five years — second only to the Orkney Islands with 20.1.

The national average between 2014 and 2018 was 13.2.

Angus was below that, with 10.1 per 100,000 people — the fifth lowest in Scotland.

In Perth and Kinross the rate was 13.3 and in Fife it was 12.9.

Dundee City Council launched a campaign earlier this month, focusing on social media, that highlights where to go for support.

Across Scotland, the rates for men are three times higher than for women.

The highest rate for men occur between the ages of 35 and 44, but for women it is between 45 and 54.

In August 2018, the Scottish Government launched a suicide prevention action plan.

The National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group is expected to publish its first annual report in September.

As of the end of April this year, there has been more than 2,800 referrals to specialists help from front-line services.

Clare Haughey, mental health minister, said: “Any suicide is a tragedy.

“An increase in deaths by suicide last year is concerning and is sadly reflected in other parts of the world, too.

“We remain committed to building on the overall 19% decrease in suicide rates in Scotland between 2004-2008.

“Alongside mental health and suicide prevention groups, we are working to raise public awareness and improve crisis support services for at risk groups.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “These are startling and heartbreaking statistics.

“More than two people a day are dying by suicide and there has been an unbelievable rise in deaths among young people.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: “The Scottish Government may have spent more time talking about mental health in recent years, but these figures show that hasn’t been matched by action.

“We’ve gone backwards and the hundreds of who took their own lives last year are a tragic testament to that.”



Former Dundee factory to become mental health hub

Former Dundee factory to become mental health hub

Locarno Works will be redeveloped.


Football match, in memory of Dundee man Harry who took his own life, raises £1k

Football match, in memory of Dundee man Harry who took his own life, raises £1k

A memorial match has raised more than £1,000 for charity.

The match, held in memory of Harry Hawes who took his own life in 2009, raised £1,001.34 for Andy’s Man Club.

The match took place at Downfield Junior football ground on May 19.

Harry had played for Dundee Football Club since he was 12 and was 17 when he died.

His friend Kevin Milne, who also played for Dundee, arranged the match.

Taking part were two teams, the yellow, which was made up of friends of Harry’s that he grew up with, and the blue team, which was made up of Harry’s family and friends from Kirkton.

After the match those attending went along to Doc Stewart’s where there was raffles, drinks and karaoke.

Harry’s mum Jacqueline Hawes said she wanted to donate to Andy’s Man Club due to how they support men’s mental health.

Andy’s Man Club was formed in 2016 and has now spread across the UK.

The Dundee group meets at the Boomerang Centre on Mondays at 7pm.



Charity football match in memory of Dundee boy Kuba, 16, found dead at home

Charity football match in memory of Dundee boy Kuba, 16, found dead at home

Alastair Campbell talks about depression

Alastair Campbell talks about depression

Former political aide and author, Alastair Campbell recalls the conversation he had with former prime minister Tony Blair about his experiences of depression and why talking is important for social change.

Video transcript: Alastair Campbell talks about depression

Alastair CampbellIt’s time to talk, it’s time to change.

My name’s Alastair Campbell. I had a breakdown in the mid 80s and as a result of that I realised that I get depression from time to time. What I would say is that in general and in theory I’m very very good at being open. In practice, at times, if I am feeling just a bit kind of down and fed up with life I’m probably not but I’m conscious of the need to be. And therefore sometimes that will trigger me at the right moment to hopefully say and do the right thing.

When Tony Blair asked me to work for him in 1994 just after John Smith died and he became the Leader of the Labour Party and he asked me to work for him. And I kind of knew he would but I wasn’t sure and one of the reasons I wasn’t sure was because I just thought “Well I’ve cracked up before. The pressure I’m going to come under is going to be way more intense than anything I’ve had before as a journalist so who knows?”

So I said I was going to take a month to think about it. It wasn’t the only reason I want to think about it, it was one of them. And he came out to France where we were on holiday to try and sort of talk me into it. And I was moving, I was definitely moving in that direction but I thought I kind of owed it to him to tell him what had happened in relation to my breakdown and what happened. So we were on a very, quite a long drive, we had to take his mother-in-law to Marseille Airport. So we took her up to the airport, dropped her off and then I told him on the drive back.

And so I’m driving and I’m talking away about all the stuff that happened in my head and the drink and the psychosis and the hospitalisation and getting arrested and all this sort of stuff. And I can see him kind of going “This is all a bit weird.” And he knew I’d had the breakdown because I’d known him for a long long time but I don’t think he ever knew quite, just what it had involved. And anyway so we’d yatter away like this and then eventually he said “Well look I’m not bothered if you’re not bothered.” And I said “Yes but what if I’m bothered.” He said “Well I’m still not bothered.”

And I thought that was a quite good signal. Because in a sense he was saying “Look I know all that’s happened but as far as I’m concerned I’ve made a bigger, deeper, broader judgement about you that I think you could do the job or want you to do the job. And I don’t think it’ll be a problem. And to be honest it never really was a problem after that.

I think it’s a very very difficult area this because all I can say is it’s always benefitted me to be open. I can’t in all honesty say to everybody in all of their different circumstances “It will benefit you to be open.” Because the truth is I’m afraid because of the stigma, because of the taboo, because of the discrimination that does sometimes exist, it could be worse for some people. And I think if all of us could somehow make the leap together to be more open then all of us the ill and the non ill would be better off.

Mental health blogs by Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell talks about telling Tony Blair about his depression – When Tony Blair asked Alastair Campbell to work for him in 1994, he revealed his mental health problems to the man who would be Prime Minister.

Media portrayal of depression: we’ve still got a long way to go – India Knight can be a good and interesting columnist so it was a real shame to read her ill-informed, irresponsible and plain wrong views on depression in The Sunday Times yesterday

News stories about Alastair Campbell and mental health

Alastair Campbell is Mind Champion of the Year – Accepting the award, Alastair said: “Change is happening, and I really feel we are close to the tipping point in terms of people’s greater understanding and society’s greater openness about mental illness. I am pleased and proud that people think I have played a part in that.”

What do you think about the issues raised in this video?

Share your views with us on Twitter >>

Read more personal stories about mental health stigma and discrimination.

Or sign our pledge wall to show your support and find out how talking tackles mental health discrimination.

Patients’ concerns highlighted in NHS Tayside mental health inquiry report

Patients’ concerns highlighted in NHS Tayside mental health inquiry report

Illegal drugs on wards and concerns over patient restraint have been highlighted in a report into NHS Tayside’s mental health services.

The independent inquiry’s interim report has identified “key themes for further investigation” after hearing evidence from more than 1,300 people.

It said some patients were frightened of certain staff members.

NHS Tayside said improvements had been made in key areas highlighted in the interim report.

The inquiry is reviewing safety, care standards and access to mental health services.

An investigation was initially ordered into Dundee’s Carseview Centre but was expanded following a campaign by families of people who took their own lives.

More than 200 written submissions were received by the inquiry team following its call for evidence, and more than 70 oral evidence sessions were held.

It said the key themes were patient access to mental health services, patient sense of safety, quality of care, organisational learning, leadership and governance.

Referring to risk management, the report said: “Patients report telling staff they were suicidal but the risk was not taken seriously until they made a serious attempt to take their own life.”

‘Violated and traumatised’

In relation to patient safety, the report noted: “Some patients report being frightened of certain staff on the wards who have a poor attitude to the patients in their care.

“Others mentioned that another patient had assaulted them whilst they were on the ward.”

The report said the use of restraint within inpatient facilities was of “great concern” to patients, who had experienced it or witnessed it taking place.

It said: “Patients feel violated and traumatised, particularly if they have personally suffered violent abuse in the past.”

People talking

It added that staff seemed unable to control the availability and use of illegal drugs on the wards in the inpatient facilities.

“Both patients and families report seeing drugs delivered, sold and taken within the Carseview Centre site,” the report said.

“Staff confirm this is a serious issue which is not being adequately addressed.

“There is a lack of support from management for frontline staff attempting to address this issue and it is having a detrimental effect on patient care and treatment regimes”.

‘Unexpected and concerning’

In a section on the Crisis Service, the report said that the Crisis team “struggles to respond to sudden surges in demand on the service.”

It said: “There are occasions when the length of time to wait to be seen is long and families supporting someone in crisis are advised to phone the police or NHS24, if they are worried.

“This advice is unexpected and concerning to carers coping with a crisis in a domestic situation.”

The report said the centralisation of the out-of-hours Crisis team to Carseview Centre has had a “detrimental effect on those patients in Angus and Perth & Kinross who are experiencing mental health crisis”.

It said: “There is a perception that whilst the Crisis service has expanded in recent months, the situation has worsened in terms of patients being assessed then not being offered any crisis intervention, or referred back to the GP.”

Inquiry chairman David Strang said: “The themes which have been identified will shape the next stage of the inquiry.

“Our final report will include conclusions and recommendations which will lead to the improvement of mental health services in Tayside.”

‘Top priority’

NHS Tayside chief executive Grant Archibald said: “We are taking on board all comments in the interim report, alongside the feedback we received from the Health and Social Care Alliance (the Alliance) published in their report in December 2018.

“The key themes which have been identified in both the Alliance report and in today’s interim report are recognised by the board and the mental health leadership team – and we are taking action on these.

“I also recognise and want to thank the many staff who are already working really hard to improve services and look forward to their continued support.

“It is clear that we have further work to do but since I came to Tayside, I have made mental health a top priority and I am confident we can learn lessons, strengthen our engagement with patients, service users, families and the public and make the right kinds of changes, at the right time, to transform our mental health services.”

He added: “We would like to thank everyone who has shared their experiences so far and we look forward to the independent inquiry’s final report and recommendations which will be a major influence on the future shape of mental health services in Tayside.”

Report into Tayside mental health services to be published ‘imminently’

Report into Tayside mental health services to be published ‘imminently’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said an interim report into mental health services in Tayside will be published “imminently”.

Responding to questions from Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard about the inquiry, Ms Sturgeon said she would expect relatives who campaigned for the inquiry to be given advance copies of the interim report, which is expected to be published this month.

The inquiry was launched following a public campaign by families who blamed poor care at the Carseview Psychiatric Centre at Ninewells Hospital for a series of suicides.

The interim report will be published next week although it will be several months before the full inquiry report is completed.

Mr Leonard told the First Minister that some of the relatives whose campaigning led to the inquiry feel they have not been kept up-to-date with its progress and believe it is not “transparent”.

He said that when the inquiry was set up then health secretary Shona Robison said it should be seen as “a force for good” and asked if Ms Sturgeon believed this aspiration is being met.

Mr Sturgeon said it would be wrong for the Scottish Government to “pre-empt” the inquiry but said its findings would be scrutinised and any recommendations acted upon.

She added: “Of course we want to learn lessons and our sympathies are with the families who have experienced those losses.

“We established an independent inquiry in Tayside. That hasn’t yet reported. I hope it will report soon and it will be fully scrutinised by the government.”

Mr Leonard said Mandy McLaren, the mother of Dundee suicide victim Dale Thomson, has lost confidence in the inquiry.

He said: “She asked me to ask you directly if families will see an advance copy of the interim report before it is published.

“Will you listen to the voices of those families? Will you do what you can do to restore their confidence in this inquiry?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “This inquiry is being led by David Strang. It is an independent inquiry.

“If the government was interfering in the conduct of that inquiry,  I am sure Richard Leonard would be raising that in the chamber.

“I understand David Strang has met with family members. It would be full my expectation that an advance copy of the report would go to those directly affected.

“I will pass that specific point to David Strang but I would stress it is an independent inquiry.”

Earlier, Conservative MSP Bill Bowman pressed health secretary Jeane Freeman over plans for a 24-hour crisis centre in Dundee.

Councillor Ken Lynn, the the vice-chairman of Dundee Heath and Social Care Partnership, has  pledged his “total commitment” to creating a centre in Dundee, but Ms Freeman the issue had not been raised with her or the minister for mental health, Claire Haughey.

Mr Bowman said later: “It was clear from the cabinet secretary’s answer that the SNP are disconnected from the challenges faced on the ground.

“There seems to be no plans for the new centre in Dundee, or for the government to help NHS Tayside create one.”

Parents hit out at thieves who stole from grave of tragic Dundee dad Lee

Parents hit out at thieves who stole from grave of tragic Dundee dad Lee

The parents of a young Dundee dad who took his own life have hit out at thieves who stole sentimental trinkets from their son’s grave.

Parents Phil and Lesley at a mural which was painted in tribute to their son Lee

Lee Welsh, 27, was found dead at his Peddie Street home in the city’s West End in August 2017 after suffering from depression.

His dad Phil and mum Lesley discovered the heartbreaking theft when they visited Lee’s grave at Birkhill Cemetery on Sunday.

Phil said: “Lesley had four little glass trinkets in the shape of diamonds hanging on the little fence that goes round the gravestone.

“They aren’t worth anything financially but they are significant to us as a family as the words ‘Shine on you crazy diamond’ from a Pink Floyd song are engraved on the gravestone.

“We know they aren’t worth any money but it has been really upsetting for us.

“When we realised they had been taken we were really hurt.”

Phil added: “Whoever took them probably doesn’t think too much about what they have done but I want them to realise that taking things from a grave can be desperately upsetting for those left behind and grieving.

“People should think more carefully about their actions and be aware of the hurt they can cause.”

Since Lee died, Phil and Lesley have been campaigning for a 24/7 crisis centre in Dundee to give immediate access to people having suicidal thoughts.

They have also organised various fundraising events for groups and centres that currently offer support.

The next event is a soup and pudding lunch to be held at Dundee West Church on May 25.

Money raised from the lunch will this year go to the Art Angel charity.

Lesley said: “Art Angel is a unique and inspired arts project run by and for people with experience of mental health difficulties in Dundee.

“It helps people work towards recovery and mental wellbeing.”

A similar event last year raised almost £1,000 for Dundee Association for Mental Health (DAMH).

The second Lee Welsh memorial football match is also planned for July 20.

It will be held at North End Park and this year the money raised will be donated to Art Angel on behalf of the Not in Vain for Lee charity.

As well as football, there will be other attractions including a bouncy castle, face and henna painting and a demonstration by Dundee Mods Scooter Club.

Last year’s match, organised by Lee’s childhood friend Steve Martin, raised more than £1,000 for DAMH.