Dad posted video of panic attack online in cry for help

Chalmers Hill, 26, has been struggling since the summer and almost took is own life in October last year.

STV News

A young dad felt forced to post a video of himself on social media having a panic attack in the hope he’d get the help he needs for his mental health. 

Chalmers Hill, 26, has been experiencing depression and anxiety since the summer and almost took is own life in October last year. 

After suffering multiple panic attacks, the dad-of-one, who lives near Grangemouth in Falkirk, says he took to social media with his fiancee, Dionne Hickey, to find out where they could turn for help. 

Due to the pandemic, he said seeking help through the NHS was hard. 

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He said: “I wasn’t able to have face-to-face consultations, everything was over the phone. 

“One day the phone calls just stopped with no explanations. I felt like I was banging my head off a brick wall.”

He added: “It was October, the day I was going to take my own life, and Dionne phoned and the nearest appointment was the 22nd of December. That was from the start of October.”

Mr Hill continues to experience depression but with medication and the support of a private therapist, he’s hopeful it’s something he can overcome.  

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Carolyn Lochhead, a spokeswoman for mental health charity SAMH, said: “What we’ve seen is that people that already had mental health problems before the pandemic are one of the hardest hit groups.

“We are seeing that people are finding it hard to access services, they are finding the response in a crisis isn’t always there, that their usual support is not always there when they need it and they are not always being told what’s happening. 

“The mental health service system had a huge demand being placed on it even before all of this – it was struggling. 

“We really need to see it being treated as a serious national priority.”

Mental health minister Clare Haughey added: “Throughout this difficult year, mental health has continued to be an absolute priority for this government, and we’ve invested £6m of dedicated funding to support the whole population.

“The Clear Your Head website contains a variety of resources and tips to help people take care of their mental health and wellbeing. 

“For those who need more support, we expanded the NHS24 Mental Health Hub so that it is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and increased the capacity of the Breathing Space telephone helpline and web service.

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“Given the pressures on many people at this difficult time, I am glad that those who need this support have ready access to it.

“Our Transition and Recovery Plan for Mental Health reflects how fundamental this issue is.

“The plan is comprehensive, containing over a hundred actions, and is designed to support mental health needs across Scotland as we move through the phases of this pandemic.”

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Driver pronounced dead at scene of M80 motorway crash

The single-vehicle collision happened near J7 Haggs southbound at around 12.40pm on Sunday.

© Google Maps 2020
Police: Enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the crash are ongoing.

A man has died following a crash on the M80 near Falkirk.

The single-vehicle collision happened near J7 Haggs southbound at around 12.40pm on Sunday.

Emergency services attended, but the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

The motorway southbound between J7 and J9 was closed for several hours. The nearby M876 junction was also shut.

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Shortly after the crash, Traffic Scotland warned motorists that queues were building.

At 5.52pm, a spokesperson said all lanes were back up and running.

Enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the crash are ongoing.

Sergeant David Ross said: “Around 12.40pm on Sunday, January 17, emergency services attended a report of a one-vehicle road crash on the M80 southbound at J7 near Haggs. 

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“The male driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the crash are ongoing.

“Anyone who may have witnessed the crash, or anyone with dashcam footage which could assist the investigation, is asked to contact police.”


Body recovered after police called to ‘motorbike on fire’

Emergency services were alerted to the incident in Cousland, Midlothian, on Sunday morning.

Ross MacDonald / SNS Group via SNS Group
Police: The death is currently being treated as unexplained.

A body has been recovered after police were called to a “motorbike on fire”.

Emergency services were alerted to the incident in Midlothian on Sunday morning.

The death is currently being treated as unexplained.

Police said enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.

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A force spokesperson said: “We received a report of a motorbike on fire near Hadfast Road, Cousland, around 9.20am on Sunday, January 17. 

“On arrival, officers discovered the body of a person nearby. 

“The death is being treated as unexplained and enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing.”


Stretch of M80 closed due to serious crash on motorway

The incident happened at J8 Bankhead outside of Bonnybridge shortly after 1pm on Sunday.

© Google Maps 2020
Motorway: A crash has closed a section of the M80 near Bonnybridge.

A stretch of the M80 has been closed following a serious road crash near Falkirk.

The incident happened at J8 Bankhead outside of Bonnybridge shortly after 1pm on Sunday.

The motorway has been closed southbound at J8. The M876 is also shut between J1 southbound and the M80.

Emergency services are currently in attendance.

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At 1.20pm, Traffic Scotland warned drivers that all lanes were blocked and queues were building.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Emergency services are in attendance following a serious road crash on the M80 southbound at J8 near Bonnybridge. 

“The M80 southbound is closed at J8 and the M876 is closed between the M80 and J1.”


Annual smear tests ‘should be Fiona’s lasting legacy’

Thirty-year-old Fiona Mathewson died in April 2020 after fighting cervical cancer for two years.

Andrew Mathewson via Facebook message
Fiona Mathewson with her young son, Harry and daughter, Ivy.

Family and friends of a 30-year-old mum who died from cancer are calling for women to get annual smear tests.

Young women are currently screened every three or five years unless issues are detected.

But the family of Fiona Mathewson, from Kelso in the Borders, believe her life could have been saved if her cancer had been detected earlier.

Her husband Andrew told STV News: “My wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer in November 2018 from a routine smear test.

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“If the tests had been yearly, perhaps the abnormal cells may have been picked up between October 2015 and April 2017.

“These dates coincide between having our first child Ivy and Fiona falling pregnant with our second child, Harry.”

Fiona – described by her younger sibling Caitlin Miles as the “perfect big sister” – died in April 2020.

The Fiona’s Law petition was started by a good friend of the family, Melanie Ford from Oxfordshire.

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After a slow start, it suddenly gathered more than 15,000 signatures and they hope to reach 100,000 to secure a parliament debate.

Caitlin added: “It would be amazing to have Fiona’s name against something that could potentially change so many lives.

“Something that when her children grow up they can see that, unfortunately their mum didn’t make it, but because of her, many other women will.”

Caitlin said making annual smear tests for young women a reality would be a fitting legacy for her sister.

“Fiona was everything you wanted,” she said. “She really was my best friend. As kids we’d come up with dance routines and dress up together.

“Sometimes she was like a second mum, always looking out for me.

“Fiona always wanted to be a mother, ever since she was a little girl herself.

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“She worked as a nursery nurse for years before meeting and marrying Andrew. She then went on to become a mother herself to Ivy, now five and Harry, who’s nearly three years old.

“Her dreams came true when she got to be a stay at home mum to her two beautiful happy babies.

“They were always up to something whether it was baking, crafting or taking silly photos and videos, which now are so much more precious than we would have imagined.

“We had a party for her 30th birthday last year, she wanted to take this opportunity to invite everyone she’d basically ever come across as a final fling.

“The place was packed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people in one hall, it was overflowing.

“She was a very loved young woman.”

Two men charged with murder over death of prisoner

James O’Rourke and Peter Allan have been charged in connection with the man's death.

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Murder: Men charged in connection with prisoner's death.

Two men have been charged with murder in connection with the death of a prisoner.

Following an incident at HMP Glenochil in Clackmannanshire on Saturday, a 30-year-old man was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.

He died on Monday.

James O’Rourke, 50, and Peter Allan, 31, have both been charged with murder at Alloa Sheriff Court on Friday.

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They were remanded in custody and are expected to appear within the next eight days.


Two men due to appear in court after prisoner’s death

The 30-year-old man died in hospital following an incident at HMP Glenochil.

© Google Maps 2020
A man has died following an incident at HMP Glenochil (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Two men have been arrested in connection with the death of a prisoner.

A 30-year-old man was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert following an incident at HMP Glenochil in Clackmannanshire on Saturday and died two days later.

Police said two men, aged 50 and 31, have been arrested and charged in connection with the death.

They are due to appear at Alloa Sheriff Court on Friday and a report has been submitted to the procurator fiscal.

Microbes ‘may be able to help clean up contaminated land’

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh are investigating how microbes could be used to clean up pollutants.

Robert Brook via Getty Images
Research: Plant and food waste combined with microbes 'may be able to clean up contaminated soil'.

Plant and food waste combined with microbes may be able to clean up contaminated soil, new research has shown.

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh are investigating how microbes could be used to clean up pollutants such as petrochemicals.

In 2016, a House of Commons report found more than 300,000 sites in the UK are contaminated with pollutants like petrochemicals, with the economic value of the sites said to be over £1bn.

There are a number of methods currently available to clean up polluted sites, but they mostly require expensive infrastructure, energy and resources.

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Tony Gutierrez, an environmental microbial ecologist at the university, hopes a more sustainable, cost-effective solution can be found using readily-available natural resources.

He has gained funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to examine out whether a combination of biochar and microbes could be effective in cleaning up soil.

He said: “Biochar is the result of putting plant or food waste under a very high heat in the absence of oxygen.

“It’s a charcoal-like substance that can be used to improve soil quality and yields of agricultural produce.

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“There are indications it could be useful to help remediate soil contaminated with toxic chemicals and organic pollutants.

“Being highly porous, biochar could be used as a carrier of certain types of micro-organisms needed to remove pollutants from contaminated soil.

“We’re mixing different biochars and micro-organisms to find the best combination to clean up contamination.”

The team will use biochar from the University of Edinburgh and combine it with tried and trusted microbes on soil that has been polluted with petrochemicals.

They will also be working with teams from specialist contaminated land contractors ERS Remediation, and Cranfield University, who are leading specialists in risk assessments for contaminated land.

Mr Gutierrez said: “We’ll be trialling biochar made from agricultural waste, and we have a few micro-organisms in mind that are good at degrading hydrocarbons.”

Professor Frederic Coulon, from Cranfield University, said: “Biochar has still much to offer to the waste and environmental remediation sectors, bringing new opportunities that can contribute to heal and revitalise our soil.”

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Thomas Aspray, from ERS Remediation, said: “Bioremediation is under-used in the UK due to a lack of understanding and being used incorrectly in the past. For the right project, it can be more economical and environmentally friendly.

“As a specialist remediation firm, we’re excited to be involved in this project to find out whether biochars can help with the delivery and support the survival of microbial degraders for more heavily contaminated sites.”


Human remains found on rural estate confirmed as missing cyclist

Tony Parsons was last seen more than three years ago outside the Bridge of Orchy Hotel near Glencoe during a charity bike ride.

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Discovery: Tony Parsons never returned home from a charity cycle.

Human remains found on a rural estate have been confirmed as a missing cyclist who disappeared more than three years ago.

Tony Parsons, from Tillicoultry in Clackmannanshire, travelled to Fort William for a charity cycle on September 29, 2017, but failed to return home.

He travelled south on the A82 and was last seen on October 2 at around 11.30pm outside the Bridge of Orchy Hotel near Glencoe in the Highlands.

On Tuesday, specialist search officers, supported by forensic scientists, discovered the remains in an area of ground close to a farm near the A82 at Bridge of Orchy.

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Mr Parsons’ body has since been recovered by police and a post-mortem examination will be carried out in the coming days.

Two men, both 29, were arrested and released last month in connection with Mr Parsons’ disappearance.

Detective chief inspector Alan Sommerville said: “This is a difficult and challenging investigation given the remote location and the extreme weather conditions faced by the team.

“We will support Mr Parsons’ family through this very difficult and distressing time as the investigation into his death continues.

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“I would like to repeat my thanks to everyone who has assisted our enquiries so far and again urge anyone who may be able to help to come forward.”

If you have any information, call 101.


Plans for £13.8m snowsport centre approved by council

The plans will see the Midlothian Snowsport Centre developed into an all-weather leisure facility.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
Plans: All-weather leisure facility approved.

Plans for a £13.8m snowsport centre in Midlothian have been approved by councillors.

Funding for the proposed development of Midlothian Snowsport Centre at Hillend Country Park has already been approved by Midlothian Council, who is the applicant. 

The plans will see the current site transformed into an all-weather leisure facility, with an alpine coaster, zipline and high ropes expected to be added to the attraction. 

The centre, used by local schools as an educational centre as well as a public sports venue, will also add hotel accommodation, glamping sites, food courts and cafe facilities as part of the redevelopment. 

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A report to Midlothian Council’s planning committee this week said that the new development would create 80 full-time jobs, 30 with the council itself and 50 through third-party operators at the site.

It is hoped the project will be completed within the next two or three years.

Concerns over the traffic impact on the access route via the A702, the size of the development and local access had led Damhead Community Council to object to the plans, however it added it was supportive of much of the proposal.

A report by planning chiefs said the community council was willing to work with the council and other parties to find a solution to its concerns.

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No other statutory consultants objected to the project and officers received three representations citing concerns over the scale of the development and its impact on the surrounding areas.

Planning officers recommended the committee grant planning permission in principle, with a wide range of conditions attached covering its development as it moves forward.

The committee unanimously supported the recommendation.

Reporting by Marie Sharp


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