THE family of a man who killed himself after being turned away by the NHS has accused Scottish ministers of treating them “like absolute dirt”.

David Ramsay took his life in 2016 at the age of 50, after he was twice rejected for treatment at the Carseview psychiatric unit at Ninewells in Dundee.

His grieving relatives are now campaigning for a public inquiry into mental health services at NHS Tayside in a bid to stop others suffering.

Mr Ramsay’s niece Gillian Murray said she and her uncle used to be members of the SNP – but she had since torn up her membership card over the family’s treatment.

The 28-year-old joined calls for Health Secretary Shona Robison to resign, insisting: “I think she has to. There’s no doubt about that.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard raised Mr Ramsay’s death during First Minister’s Questions, where he renewed calls for an inquiry.

He highlighted that Scotland's suicide rate is more than twice as high as the rate for Britain as a whole, while in Dundee suicide rates have increased by 61 per cent in a year.

He said: "Tragically, David's story and the experience of his family is not unique in Dundee.

"So, when I was in Dundee in March I backed the call by families for a public inquiry into mental health services at NHS Tayside.

"First Minister, why has your government remained silent on this crisis and silent on this demand for a public inquiry?"

He said Mr Ramsay's father David and niece Gillian Murray had come to Edinburgh "because this government has ignored them".

Ms Sturgeon said her "deep condolences" went out to Mr Ramsay's family and that the government had been in contact with them.

She said that while one suicide was one too many, a five-year rolling average showed suicides on a downward trend in Scotland.

Referring to Carseview, she said: "I don't think it is right or fair to say that the government has remained silent."

Ms Sturgeon said Health Secretary Shona Robison had visited the unit and the Mental Welfare Commission had carried out an unannounced inspection in March and made a number of recommendations, with NHS Tayside expected to “fully respond” within three months.

She insisted it was "simply not the case" that no action was being taken, adding that the government's forthcoming suicide prevention strategy would ensure that the best facilities were in place for those who need help.

But speaking after FMQs, which Mr Ramsay’s family watched from the public gallery, Ms Murray disputed suggestions that ministers had been in touch.

She said her family had been through “living hell”, with her uncle’s mental health issues simply brushed aside by NHS staff – despite the fact he was experiencing delusions and had attempted suicide twice in the days before he killed himself.

Ms Murray said: “Even though he thought that zombies were coming in to get us, I was hypnotised by the dog, he was told to pull himself together and go and do normal things like walk the dog.

“That was the only advice that he got. We were given no advice, we were given no help, we were off work so we were having to play nurses and psychiatrists.

“So I’m having to Google on my phone how to care for a suicidal individual, how to care for someone with psychosis.

“We were begging for help, David was asking for help. They shut the door on us and they are shutting the door on so many and I won’t stop until we have got a public inquiry.

Nicola Sturgeon has buried her head in the sand just now, but I will keep fighting because one more suicide is too many in Dundee.

“We have been saying this for years now and it’s still happening.”