Dundee City Council’s leader has backed calls for a 24-hour crisis centre for people struggling with mental health problems – after admitting support services in the city “have not been good enough”.
Campaigners have previously urged public bodies in Dundee to fund and open a 24/7 mental health crisis centre in the city following previous cases of self-harm and suicide.
Members of Dundee Fighting for Fairness (DFFF) previously said people are “crying out” for a unit they can go to at times of crisis.
The parents of Lee Welsh and Dale Thomson – two young men who both took their lives after serious bouts of mental health problems and depression – have been outspoken on their support for such a facility.
The issue came to the fore again after a person was helped from the Tay Road Bridge on Thursday. The bridge has now been seen as a “crisis area” according to councillor Lynne Short – with numerous people rescued by emergency services on the bridge and surrounding area.
Ms Short is a member of the Tay Road Bridge board, and has spoken openly about her struggles with her own mental health in the past.
Speaking to the Tele in a video interview, councillor Short, who represents Maryfield, said: “The bridge staff work really, really hard to support people, and I can only thank them enough for all that support that they do give.
“It’s just really unfortunate that people in the city do see that area as being somewhere to find help.
“I recognise it, as an individual, and I’ve always found the support I’ve needed. That’s why I’ve always been very open about my struggles with my mental health, and the fact that we can talk about it nowadays.
The council leader echoed Ms Short’s views, and cited the Strang Report’s findings into mental health.
The chief executive of NHS Tayside, Grant Archibald, publicly apologised to patients, family and staff for the failings of mental health services laid bare in his damning report in February this year.
Mr Strang’s Trust and Respect report identified 51 recommendations to be implemented to improve mental health services in Tayside.
Strathmartine councillor Mr Alexander said: “The Strang Review, which was pretty hard-hitting, gave some very serious, well-thought out recommendations.
“One of the key recommendations was around this kind of idea of a support centre that was accessible to members of the public at any point in time.”
However, the council leader questioned whether the bridge would be the best place for a centre, because people may feel uncomfortable seeking help at such a visible location.
“You have to be conscious and listen to people who have real-life experience, rather than a politician saying, ‘I think it needs to be here’,” he added.
NHS Tayside was approached for comment.