RETIRED GLASGOW FIREFIGHTER TAKES HIS OWN LIFE FOLLOWING ANOTHER TRAGEDY

A retired fireman took his own life after his mental health worsened following the Clutha crash tragedy.

Dad-of-three Douglas ‘Dougie’ Naismith, from the South Side, was 63-years-old when he tragically died by suicide in March last year, leaving his loved ones completely devastated.

Dougie’s last post before retirement was as a senior fire investigation officer for Scottish Fire and Rescue – a force which he had dedicated 30 years of his life to. He was left with broken bones after a helicopter crashed into the Clutha bar on November 29, 2013, killing 10 people.

He was at the bar for a drink with friends, having a pint of Guinness, before the crash took place. The impact it had on his mental health proved to be fatal.

Dougie, who had already been suffering from PTSD due to his line of work and the “catastrophes” he witnessed, saw a decline in his mental health.

He was in and out of hospital until he, sadly, ended his life last year. His daughter, Eilidh, has spoken of the impact the Clutha crash had on her dad, and the pain following his loss.

The 27-year-old said: “The mental impact was the most severe. He hadn’t been well, he suffered from PTSD during his time in the service from various things that had happened over the years but he was never in hospital and was working away.

“It was after the Clutha that his mental health deteriorated and he became mentally unwell. There was an entire change in him after the crash. He had periods of psychosis.

“He suffered for years and was in and out of hospital quite a lot. Daily activities were hard for him, he needed support with washing and eating. He never really got well after the Clutha.

Dougie in his younger days in the fire service.
Dougie in his younger days in the fire service. (Image: Supplied)

“It was a horrific time, it was traumatising and a huge shock. We still carry the pain of it every day. It feels like we went into a blur and, for us, every day was really hard. We still feel the pain from his death.”

Paying tribute to her “adventurous” dad, she added: “He was very outgoing and took risks. He was very adventurous and outdoorsy, he loved the hills and his camper van.

“He had a tan all year around because he was always in his shorts and t-shirt, no matter the weather, doing something – he was a bit of an action man.

“He was quite spontaneous and was also ahead of his time. He used to go to cooking and language classes when he retired, he would try everything.

“Dad was quite a gentle person, he wasn’t the loudest in the room. He loved reading and was so knowledgeable. He was a gentle soft soul and we were best pals.”

Eilidh has paid tribute to her dad.
Eilidh has paid tribute to her dad. (Image: Supplied)

The Fire Fighters Charity, who previously supported Dougie with treatment and rehabilitation following the crash, have now launched a new suicide crisis line for fire and rescue service personnel – in a bid to directly help firefighters and members of fire service personnel actively experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Eilidh has backed the new service, calling it a “vital” lifeline for employees at Scottish Fire and Rescue.

She said: “My dad could remember so much from the trauma of fires and lots of catastrophes. It could be car crashes and the impact of that stays with you. Having access to a line where those unique experiences are considered is just vital.

“For so long, people in that job have maybe been expected to just turn up the next day and get on with the job at hand. Having a space where people can access support and talk is huge.

“Talking therapy works. I’ve had loads of counselling over the years. Access to things like that gives you the words to talk about things you previously wouldn’t have known how to speak about.”

In the first month, the crisis line received 24 calls.

Sharon Bailey, The Fire Fighters Charity’s Director of Beneficiary Services, said: “Every suicide is a tragedy, with a life cut short. So, while I wish that there was no need for our Crisis Line, this first month has demonstrated just how important it is.”