Gillian Murray has been named The Herald’s Public Campaigner of the Year for her tireless fight to secure an independent review of mental health services at NHS Tayside’s Carseview Centre.

Ms Murray’s uncle, David Ramsay, took his own life in 2016 at the age of 50 just days after he was twice rejected for treatment at the Dundee facility. 

His family said he was simply told to “pull himself together and 
go and do normal things like walk the dog”.

Days later, he was dead.

Mr Ramsay’s case was highlighted by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard at First Minister’s Questions in May. He told a hushed chamber that Scotland’s suicide rate is more than twice as high as the rate for Britain as a whole, while in Dundee suicide rates had increased by 61 per cent in a year.

Ms Murray later spoke to the media and outlined the devastating ordeal her family had been through. 

It had been a “living hell”, she said, before adding: “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.”

Her powerful testimony had immediate results.

Just over 24 hours later, NHS Tayside bosses announced an independent inquiry would be held.

John Brown, chairman of NHS Tayside, said at the time: “We are commissioning this independent assurance report into how services are delivered at Carseview to address the concerns of families who have been speaking out about their experiences of mental health services at the centre.”

Ms Murray has cautiously welcomed the move, as long as it brings real change to families like hers – and remains truly independent.

She could not attend last night’s awards, but her father and grandfather were there on her behalf.

Visibly emotional, her father Peter Murray said: “She will continue to campaign for improvements in mental health services. Words can’t describe how difficult the last few years have been.” 

He also paid tribute to MSPs who have helped the family along the way, including Labour’s Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard, and Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie and Alex Cole Hamilton.