Mental health campaigners have urged the Scottish Government to up its efforts in tackling mental illness following an alarming spate of suicides in Dundee.
The last month has seen a number of residents of all ages from across the city take their own lives.
Horrified by the alarming regularity of incidents, campaigners have now chosen to speak out and call for improvements to be made to mental health care across Tayside and Scotland as a whole.
The Courier has spoken with both mental health crusader and author, Tina McGuff, and ex-assistant chief constable of Tayside Police, Angela B J Wilson, after a trend became apparent.
Dismayed by the number of people taking their own lives locally, both have urged the Scottish Government to stump up more cash to tackle the issues.
Tina, who has written about her experience of anorexia in hard-hitting autobiography, Seconds to Snap, told The Courier that she believes far more still has to be done to prevent people from struggling with mental illness.
The author believes more has to be done to tackle the root of the issue before yet more people prematurely end their lives.
She said: “Mental health problems are still seen as the Cinderella illness. People don’t see it on par with things like a broken leg.
“It can be more devastating than a physical illness.
“It’s life-limiting and it crushes you. People are almost hibernating.
“There’s still just not enough money.
“A friend of mine is a clinical psychologist and is getting more and more people referred to her by the NHS.
“She does a great job, but doctors just don’t have the time.
“It’s all down to funding. There’s not enough resources.”
Angela, who served on the beat in Tayside and dealt with suicide as part of her role, feels society and the government have to treat mental and physical health conditions as equals.
She said: “This is about mental health being seen as an equal to all other health problems.
“I think statistics will show that they don’t put as much money into mental health issues, particularly young people’s mental health issues.
“Any increase at all has to be seen as a really bad thing.
“There’s not enough money gone into research and there’s certainly not enough money gone into treatment.
“I do think this is improving, but the money needs to go into the right places and it needs to be the right amount.”
Meanwhile, a Perthshire church has revealed that it is trying to help a number of Taysiders deal with mental illness.
Aberfeldy Parish Church, along with Christians Against Poverty(CAP), are keen to emphasise a link between debt and mental illness.
Highland Perthshire CAP Debt Centre Manager Angela Hanvey said: “If you’ve no money but you’re getting constant demands, threatening letters and phone calls, it’s very stressful.
“There’s the fear of losing your home, the worry of not being a good parent, relationships feeling the pressure.
“It’s not surprising that almost all of our clients describe themselves as having poor mental health.”
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government insisted that mental health was a matter of high priority.
She said: “Mental health is an absolute priority for this government.
“We have announced an additional £150 million for mental health over five years to improve access to services and promote innovation and new ways of treating people. This includes additional funding for child and adolescent mental health services.
“Schools have duties to promote physical, social, mental and emotional wellbeing.”
A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “Across Tayside there are multi-disciplinary Community Mental Health Teams working in their localities providing care and treatment in the community to support people with mental health problems. All referrals are promptly assessed and urgent appointments arranged where required.”