Loved ones of men who took own lives demand mental health services review

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Two bereaved women who lost loved ones are calling for a full review of the system, arguing the men were let down by Scotland’s mental health services.

Karen McKeown and Gillian Murray are demanding a review of mental health provision and automatic reviews into suicides if the deceased had contact with the health service in the three months before their death.

Ms McKeown’s partner, father-of-two Luke Henderson, was unable to get help despite multiple calls to doctors and visiting the NHS about his mental health problems in the week before he died.

The uncle of Ms Murray, David Ramsay, killed himself days after begging for help at NHS Tayside but getting told to take his dog for a walk instead.

A petition by the two women has gathered 882 signatures and Ms McKeown will give evidence to MSPs on the Public Petitions Committee later on Thursday.

Their petition, calling for changes to mental health services in Scotland, urges the Scottish Government “to carry out a full review of mental health services across the NHS in Scotland” and for mental health provision to be delivered “consistently across the country”.

“Our loved ones Luke Henderson and David Ramsay asked for help a number of times before their deaths”, they wrote, adding the pair “were let down by the current system”.

The petition adds: “Both men attempted to get help on a number of occasions.

“Our families expressed concerns to mental health staff that our loved ones were planning to take their own life.

“Our concerns were dismissed and no help or support was offered to help our families. Both men went on to take their own life.”

The two women express grievances with mental health assessment tools and out-of-hours crisis support.

They also suggest a fatal accident inquiry is carried out for anyone who takes their own life if they were in contact with mental health services up to three months before they died.

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