An open letter to nhs tayside


FAO: Grant Archibald and Lorna Birse-Stewart, Chief Executive and Chair of NHS Tayside

Subject: Report of the Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services

Dear Grant and Lorna,

Due to the recent outcome of David Strang’s report we would like to bring the perspective of Feeling Strong, Dundee’s youth mental health charity, to your attention. In working closely with our young people over the course of the last two years, we have found very little in this report that was surprising and we are grateful that these issues have been brought to light publicly. It is our hope that NHS Tayside can now move forward in partnership with its community to implement the recommendations found within the report. For us, there are five key recommendations that we wish to support:

  1. Focus on developing strategies for prevention, social support and early intervention for young people experiencing mental ill-health in the community, co-produced with third sector agencies.

  2. Consider the formation of a service for young people aged 18 – 24, in recognition of the difficulties transitioning to adult services and also recognising the common mental health difficulties associated with life events experienced during this age range. This may reduce the necessity for these patients to be admitted to the adult in-patient services.

  3. Ensure that rejected referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are communicated to the referrer with a clear indication as to why the referral has been rejected, and what options the referrer now has in supporting the patient.

  4. Develop clear pathways of referral to and from university mental health services and the crisis resolution home treatment team.

  5. Consider developing a model of integrated substance use and mental health services.

We consider these recommendations to have the potential to radically transform the experience of the young people of Dundee for the better. Whilst this report is obviously very challenging, and we fully support the content there-in, we believe this is a valuable opportunity for NHS Tayside to work with Feeling Strong and the young people of Dundee to rebuild trust in the work you do.

We sincerely hope that NHS Tayside, in good faith, embraces both the outcomes of the report and partnership working with the community in which it operates, and we’re happy to support NHS Tayside in its journey to improve critical services for the benefit of some of Dundee’s most vulnerable young people.

We will be watching your progress with great interest.


Brook Marshall and Stephanie Carney

Chief Executive and Campaigns & Lobbying Lead of Feeling Strong