A Dundee man is calling for volunteers to help patrol local suicide “hot spots” including the Tay Road Bridge.
Robbie Russell, 27, from Douglas, claims there is insufficient help available for people who have suicidal thoughts.
Robbie, originally from Arbroath where the Victoria Cliffs are also a regular choice for people seeking to take their own lives, is looking to carry out daily patrols on the bridge and has set up the Blue Wings Suicide Prevention Group which can be accessed via Facebook.
He’s aiming to have a team of two people stationed at the Dundee pedestrian entrance, another pair patrolling the structure and two more at the exit on the Fife side.
He said: “I can’t sit back any longer and allow this to go on, far too many people have given their selves away.
“They feel that there is not enough people to talk to. I want to be that person that they confide in, along with several others.
“There needs to be more people at the frontline who have been there themselves. Consistency is key and there is not enough.”
Robbie’s Facebook post has received more than 600 likes and comments so far.
He said: “A lot of people are keen to do something. Folk want to make a difference.”
Robbie has a personal history of mental health issues.
He said: “I was diagnosed with personality disorder and given medication which wasn’t helping.
“I was just becoming more irate, so I stopped taking my medication.
“It took me a long time to completely find myself – around three years. I moved away from Arbroath and just rebooted. I think that is how I managed to cope.
“I just want to get that message out there and be the sufferers’ guide.”
Gavin Elliot,a volunteer who has experienced suicidal feelings, said: “I just think it’s really good that someone is taking time out of his life to help people who are finding it hard, who need support but have no one to turn to, and that’s why I want to help.”
Chairman of the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board, Stewart Hunter, said: “I appreciate the concerns of the Dundee public. However, I can reassure them that the staff on the bridge are trained and well-equipped to deal with any situation that occurs, supported, of course, by our emergency services.
“For obvious reasons the details behind any incident on the bridge remain confidential but I can say that the way staff have handled them has been exemplary.
“I and the rest of the board are proud of them and hugely indebted for the work that they have done and continue to do.
“Unfortunately, because of the confidential nature of this work, our staff don’t receive the credit that they deserve.
“I believe that if the Dundee public were aware of all that goes on, I suspect they would recognise that there isn’t a need for patrols on the bridge.
“The bridge manager and myself are willing to meet the proposed volunteers to discuss what staff on the bridge already do and I can also say that the board is very proactive at looking at ways we can help.
“However, anything we do must be workable, feasible and proven to work. Anything less than this would let down the very people we are trying to help.”
A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: “Every instance of suicide is a tragic event that affects many levels in society, from family and friends to colleagues and indeed everyone in that person’s social circle and community.
“If people are feeling suicidal, the best thing to do is talk. Speak to someone you can trust or call a helpline.
“If you’re worried that someone else is suicidal, ask them – asking someone directly about their feelings can help them.”