Campaigners have urged public bodies in Dundee to fund and open a 24/7 mental health crisis centre in the city amid a continuing high trend in suicide figures.
Members of Dundee Fighting for Fairness (DFFF) say people are “crying out” for a unit they can go to at times of crisis.
The group’s Suzanne Sime told Dundee’s integrated joint board: “The community is crying out for this. There have been times in my life where the Samaritans just aren’t going to cut it.
“People need a safe space they can turn up at without a GP referral, and where they can just say, ‘I need help’.”
Self-referral would differ from the likes of the Carseview Centre, where people undergo assessment or have to be referred by a doctor before being admitted.
Gillian Murray, whose uncle David Ramsay took his own life after being turned away from Carseview, said it was “a brilliant idea…desperately needed”.
But she warned: “My concern is Carseview will now just refer unwell and suicidal patients to this drop-in service as a way of passing the buck.
“These ideas are great and well-meaning, but they should be complementary to an already-functioning NHS mental health service. We need to have the basics in place first, which we don’t, but at least this is a start.”
New figures, which detail the total number of deaths by suicide, show an average of 28 people have taken their own lives each year in Dundee between 2014-18. The average was 20 in 2011-15.
Scottish Labour’s shadow health secretary Monica Lennon MSP said rates across the country were getting “worse, not better”.
NHS Tayside has said it is committed to reducing suicide rates by 20% by 2022.
A spokeswoman said: “Since 2016, every suicide death in Tayside is comprehensively reviewed by the Tayside Multi-agency Suicide Review Group to look at the circumstances surrounding each case.
“The information gained is used across agencies to improve prevention and early intervention for mental distress and suicide.”
- Help can be found by downloading the “Suicide? Help!” app, calling NHS 24 on 111, Samaritans on 116123 or Breathing Space on 0800 838587.