After being rescued from the freezing waters of the River Tay, Zana Grant felt only one thing – disappointment.
The 25-year-old had attempted to take her own life in January 2018 but, having survived the harrowing experience, felt she had “failed”.
In a candid account of a life spent battling her own mental health issues, Zana has bravely discussed what brought her to the edge on numerous occasions over the past few years.
She has also backed calls for a 24-hour crisis facility for people in Dundee who are at their lowest ebb.
Discussing her experience being rescued from the Tay over two years ago, Zana said: “I did not want to survive, I had no idea that I would survive. This was no cry for help, I wanted to die.
“I just wanted the pain I was suffering from to end. I had made my peace and wasn’t even particularly distressed when I took the decision.
“I remember it all clearly – I was so disappointed I was still alive.”
Zana has been rescued from the river twice since her first experience.
She told the Tele she will reach a point of crisis again and cannot guarantee she will not make attempts on her own life again.
Despite her own demons, Zana is training to be a mental health nurse and is also a qualified crisis volunteer.
She has made the difficult decision to speak out about her own battle as she calls for a self-referral crisis centre to be introduced in the city to help hundreds of others like her.
In bravely telling her story, Zana hopes the authorities take notice of what people are going through on a daily basis.
A crisis centre, Zana believes, would help people like her who feel they have nowhere to turn when they reach rock bottom.
A campaign led by Phil Welsh, whose son Lee took his own life in 2017, has called for a 24/7 crisis centre in Dundee.
It would operate similar to those elsewhere in Scotland, providing access to counsellors and support in a home-like environment allowing people time and space to seek appropriate help.
Zana said: “If by speaking out I can make people sit up and listen to my story and understand the dreadful mental health crisis that is taking place in Dundee then it will have been worth it.
“Dundee needs this centre. It would give people somewhere to go when they are at their very lowest and in their darkest hour.
“I don’t know if it would have prevented me doing what I did but it would have given me an option. At the crisis moments I would have had somewhere to turn instead of having to wait six or seven hours to speak to someone, which is the way the system works currently.”
Zana admits she has probably been suffering from mental issues for her whole life.
It was only when she reached secondary school that it became clear what was going on inside her own head.
She has been on medication, had a number of doctors appointments but has yet to receive a definitive diagnosis.
Zana also spent five months in the Carseview Centre and, although praising the staff and help she received there, admits it alone cannot deal with the demand and needs of those suffering mental health.
“There is something very far lacking in the mental health help that is available in Dundee,” Zana said.
“I know I need help. I have a constant need to die and it is very likely I will try again.
“On one occasion when I tried to take my own life, I told hospital doctors I’d attempt to do it again if I was released.”
Zana did make another attempt shortly after her release, only to be rescued by emergency services.
She knows that her battle is far from over – but hopes others can gain courage from reading about what she has gone through.
Zana said: “I have thought long and hard about going public with this. But I am ready to do it .
“Something needs to be done and if by speaking out it helps someone else and helps to get things changed then it will have been worth it.”
Charities back calls for crisis centre
Leading Dundee charities have backed calls for a 24-hour crisis centre in the city – and said more must be done to support those in need.
Feeling Strong and 18 and Under, who both support young people suffering from mental health issues, have insisted there would be huge benefits to having a drop-in centre in the city which would give people a first port of call if they are struggling.
Laurie Matthew, who founded 18 and Under, said: “I totally agree – a 24/7 crisis centre is needed in Dundee.
“I would like to see it extended to also cater for young people.
“Many mental health issues begin during teenage years and it is so difficult for young people to get support and help when they need it.
“I have known young people to have to wait up to a year to get proper support. It is outrageous.
“If they could have access to a 24/7 centre when they needed it we might go a long way to preventing mental health issues and problems developing and becoming even worse.”
Brook Marshall, project director of Feeling Strong, said: “We already support the idea of a 24/7 centre in the city.
“There are equivalent centres in other parts of Scotland and these have had a huge impact on mental health and well being.
“It is time that Dundee City Council, the Scottish Government and the NHS realised how big a mental health problem we have in Dundee and how important a centre like this in the city could be.”
Scottish Government has their say
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “Mental health and wellbeing is a top priority for the Scottish Government and we want to ensure mental health crisis services are available for all those in distress whenever they need them.
“We have funded NHS 24 to increase the support it provides by telephone. We have also extended the Distress Brief Intervention programme to support people contacting NHS 24 in distress from anywhere in Scotland, subject to assessment of individual callers’ needs.
“NHS Tayside and its partners are working on the redesign of mental health services and supports in response to the recommendations of the Strang report. This will include improving the local response to people in mental health crisis.”
Get help: Hotlines for suicide support charities
If you’re feeling low or suicidal, there are a number of helplines you can call and gain
support from trained professionals. They are:
Samaritans – for everyone. Call: 116 123 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men. Call: 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day. Visit the webchat page.
Papyrus – for people under 35. Call: 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 9am to 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm to 10pm. Text: 07860 039967. Email: email@example.com.
Childline – for children and young people under 19. Call: 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill.