A campaigner has welcomed a move by council leaders to install a permanent safety feature on an Aberdeen bridge – but insists more needs to be done to tackle problems with mental health.
Aberdeen City Council last week announced the planned revamp of Union Terrace Gardens would go ahead – with a new feature on Union Bridge included.
Temporary fencing has been in place at the site since 2016.
Earlier this year, campaigners from March for a Change in Mental Health Services attached signs to the fence in a bid to encourage action on mental health provision.
Organiser Olivia Park said the move was a positive step. But she says more needs to be done to tackle the root of the problem by reducing waiting times for appointments and increasing funding for services.
She said: “I have no problem with the council putting up a higher barrier – however, we don’t want them then thinking that is the solution to the problem.
“The problem is the fact there’s not enough funding for mental health services.
“There’s not enough staff and waiting lists are too long.
“If they were to focus on that side of things that would be great.
“It’s a matter of just getting things done. I want them to make an improvement and actually fund mental health services.
“We need them to make an effort. This is not going to help everyone’s mental health problems.
“There’s a lack of effort and a lack of real care, and the council need to listen to what the community is saying and think about where they are investing their money.
“Lives are on the line.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
The new feature will be installed as part of the revamp of Union Terrace Gardens.
In a supporting statement alongside the planning application for the new measure, the city council stated the barrier would be designed to “minimise interference both aesthetically and materially with the existing B-listed parapet”.
It will not be fixed to the visible portion of the existing cast iron section of the parapet and will be discretely attached to the granite sections of the bridge at each end.
The council document added: “This design takes cues from the designs for the new Union Terrace Gardens to create a unified aesthetic for this very visible and civically important city centre area.”
Confidential help is available from several organisations in the UK for anyone struggling to cope or going through a difficult time in their lives.
Whatever you’re going through, you can call the Samaritans any time, from any phone, for free on 116123.