Woman calls for more support as she shares sister's mental health story

Fiona Hogg, who would have been 30 in August, passed away from pneumonia last December.

Glasgow woman calls for more NHS support as she shares sister’s mental health story LDRS

A Glasgow woman whose sister battled depression before she died says people in need should be given more information on support available through the NHS.

Fiona Hogg, who would have been 30 in August, passed away from pneumonia last December. Her sister, Emma Rae, says Fiona struggled to leave her home to attend appointments.

Emma, 28, says she wishes there was more support for people in Fiona’s situation and more information about mental health services available through the NHS – and she believes if the organisation was funded differently, Fiona’s situation might have been different.

The family says something needs to change and want to know what else can be done so people struggling with their mental health don’t feel alone. They are now calling on the NHS and SAMH is to take further action to help people in this situation.

Emma Completing Her First Half Marathon.

Emma said: “Fiona was a great person but she had her struggles and she really did seek support for her mental health.

“It makes us angry but a bit disappointed more than anything that mental health help isn’t as accessible as it should be.

“People who are struggling with depression and anxiety are more reluctant to go out to appointments and access the medical help they need.

“Fiona did seek help and was given NHS appointments but she had trouble attending.

“If a nurse was supposed to call her, she wouldn’t answer the phone call or go to appointments because she didn’t want to go outside or leave her home.

“Even though these mental health services appear to be available and accessible, it is not always clear what services are provided and what the follow up process would entail, particularly for family members who wish to support their loved ones that are reluctant to access them.

“Maybe mental health advice would be clearer to people if there wasn’t still such a stigma surrounding it.”

The NHS responded that the family can contact its patient affairs team to discuss their concerns.

Ross McGuffie, Chief Officer, North Lanarkshire HSCP, said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family at this very difficult time.

“Unfortunately, due to patient confidentiality, we are unable to discuss individual cases. However, we aim to provide localised care and support to individuals in our communities, using a range of approaches to support engagement, including outreach.

“To discuss the concerns raised by the family we would ask them to get in touch directly.”

Following Fiona’s death, her family raised £1,815 for SAMH by asking people to donate to the charity rather than giving flowers.

Emma, a primary school teacher, decided to complete her first half marathon in October and raised £992.75 including gift aid, for SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) in Fiona’s memory – a cause that was close to her heart.

She went on: “I used to run years ago but after a lot of injuries I had to stop. I was never an amazing runner but I enjoyed it.

“After my sister died I decided I needed something mentally as an outlet so I started to run and I realised that it made me feel much better.

“I started to build it up and decided to run a 10k for SAMH because mental health was something Fiona was very passionate about and she did struggle a lot with it before she passed.

“So I thought I would run a 10k in her memory in October and raise money for the organisation because it is a charity that is sought after more and more these days.”

Emma started running in January but by May had completed her first 10k and raised £545 plus a further £131.25 in gift aid for Cancer Research as Fiona used to work for the Children’s Haematology/Oncology ward in Glasgow.

She was happy to get that run “under her belt” but realised she could do more and signed up for the Great Scottish Run half marathon in Glasgow on October 1.

“I have never felt the way I felt after running that half marathon. It was amazing” Emma said. She added: “I think the charity is great and I am raising all this money because I don’t want other people to go through what my sister went through prior to her passing away.

“Although the cause of death was pneumonia, Fiona’s mental health impacted her lifestyle choices which had a significant impact on her physical health.

“Because she has passed, a way of supporting my struggle is to try and give back. In her memory I want to try and support those who are still struggling with mental health daily.”

Help and support is available now if you need it. The Samaritans can be contacted any time, from any phone, free on 116 123, email at jo@samaritans.org, or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

Details of other services and more information can be found on the NHS website here.

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