A MOTHER whose partner took his own life just days after Christmas has launched a "campaign of kindness" to protect others over the festive season.

Karen McKeown, from Wishaw, has urged Scots to look out for their loved ones over the festive period due to the issues accessing mental health services and the mental difficulties that the period can bring.

The mother-of-two has been fighting to get justice for her partner Luke Henderson since his death on December 29, 2017, after he repeatedly requested help from the NHS but was turned away several times.

As highlighted by the Herald on Sunday, Ms McKeown visited eight medical facilities and spoke to almost a dozen members of staff in the week before her partner's death in a desperate attempt to get help for him.

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Despite her efforts, doctors told her that her partner was not suicidal, had no apparent mental health difficulties and that he would not be able to receive any medication to help him.

Prior to contacting health services, Mr Henderson had been having delusions and had been awake for days on end, frequently leaving the house and returning hours later, covered in sweat and unable to articulate where he had been or what he was thinking.

Medics eventually referred Mr Henderson to addiction services, where the couple were told to fill in a form and then sent away.

He took his own life in the home that he shared with Ms McKeown and their two children just four days after Christmas.

Ms McKeown said: "Christmas time is really difficult for people who have mental health problems, and it can be difficult for those who have lost loved ones too. While everyone is going about their business, trying to get into the festive spirit and have a nice time, it can make others feel even worse."

Ms McKeown wants to encourage people to look out for their friends and family during the Christmas season, when, she says, it is easier to allow mental health difficulties to become too much to handle.

It is also a period where traditionally many specialist services would be closed or have reduced hours, making it harder to access the type of help needed.

She also launched a government petition last year calling for a review of all suicides where the person had recent interaction with mental health services prior to their death.

Last month the Holyrood petitions committee closed her appeal as they said the issues were already forming part of their current strategy.

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Although disappointed, Ms Mckeown said she was undeterred and will continue fighting for better mental health care in Scotland.

She said: "I am disappointed about the fact they closed my petition but it's not the end of the campaign. That's why I want to keep reminding people they can talk about their mental health, and Christmas is one of the times I think it will be especially important.

"Over Christmas it can be really difficult and we just want people to get in touch with their friends and relatives, check in on them and ask if they're okay.

"It's a time for celebrating but it can be hard if people are mentally ill and they don't always feel like seeing people. That's why it's so important to check in on them – if you've not heard from them for a few days, just ask if they are alright.

"People also have to be able to ask the question if they are really concerned about someone, they need to be able to ask them if they are suicidal.

"It's a very difficult thing to do, but it can save a life, so people have to be able to ask the difficult things if they are concerned."