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Reach Across charity moves to new base as Angus suicide support pleas spiral

Sandra Ramsay (left) of Reach Across and Arbroath councillor Lois Speed.
Sandra Ramsay (left) of Reach Across and Arbroath councillor Lois Speed.

An Angus mental health charity is moving to larger premises as the county finds itself in the grip of spiralling suicide pleas for help during the pandemic.

Reach Across was founded by Arbroath mum Sandra Ramsay following the tragic loss of her son, Ross, in 2013.

The 30-year-old had embarked on a promising career in the music and theatre industry but struggled with mental health issues and was found after going missing from his home in Glasgow.

Sandra Ramsay and her late son, Ross.

Since its formation, the charity has given vital support to people across Angus and is soon to open a new permanent base in Arbroath’s Guthrie Port.

New base opening as rising numbers seek help

Sandra said the new premises will offer additional meeting and consultation space, as well as a therapy room and accommodation for an art group and other workshops.

Volunteers have been preparing the premises and she thanked local tradesmen including plumber Colin MacPherson and Alex Dalglish at Vertex for their support with the project.

Reach Across founder Sandra Ramsay (left) with volunteers from left) Ryan MacPherson, Liam Robbie, Karen Price and Kristopher Price at the new premises.

The charity’s experience of a rise in people seeking support as they struggle with isolation and suicidal thoughts during the pandemic was borne out in shocking statistics delivered to Angus councillors.

Local support agencies have helped more than 250 people in the last three months alone.

Saying the word suicide isn’t a trigger, it can help save a life. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business.

Angus suicide prevention development officer Susan Duncan

Many have sought help after contemplating taking their own life.

Young men a key concern for support agencies

There are increasing concerns around the number of under-30s struggling with their mental health, particularly young men.

The vital role of third sector organisations like Reach Across was highlighted by Angus suicide prevention development officer Susan Duncan.

She said it was more important than ever for people to talk about mental wellbeing and being suicide aware.

“We should be confident to connect someone to the right support,” she said.

“Saying the word suicide isn’t a trigger, it can help save a life. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business.”

“The move could not have come at a more important time. Sadly, more and more people are struggling due to the pandemic.

Angus councillor Lois Speed

Arbroath councillor Lois Speed said: “I fully commend Reach Across for their ongoing achievements and the crucial support they provide to individuals and families that experience mental health difficulties within Angus.

“The move to these new premises could not have come at a more important time as we know that, sadly, more and more people are struggling due to the pandemic.

“I would urge anyone who is finding things difficult to get in touch with Reach Across”.

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