‘Mental ill­ness cost me mar­riage, job and house’

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - PAUL MA­LIK

A Dundee mu­si­cian who was al­most made home­less fol­low­ing mental ill­ness will per­form along­side her mu­si­cal idols at Sleep in the Park.

It will be a spe­cial mo­ment for Gail Melville, who will share the stage at Slessor Gar­dens with KT Tun­stall, Kyle Fal­coner and Amy Mac­don­ald tonight.

Gail had to leave her An­gus home at 15 af­ter be­ing “shunned” by the re­li­gious sect her fam­ily be­longed to, and said the So­cial Bite cause is “very close to her heart”.

The acous­tic singer-song­writer, who goes by the moniker That Girl Gail, found her­self close to be­ing home­less for a sec­ond time at 23, fol­low­ing the col­lapse of her mar­riage.

“My mental health problems re­sulted in the break-up of my mar­riage and the loss of my job,” she said.

“I couldn’t af­ford to pay the mort­gage. One day I came home to find my­self locked out. My house had been re­pos­sessed. Al­though it didn’t feel like it at the time, I was lucky as the coun­cil found me a place to live very quickly.

“I’ve never slept on the street be­cause I’ve been lucky and had friends look­ing out for me. At 15 I moved in with my sis­ter who at that point was still in con­tact with me.

“We didn’t have much in the way of money or ma­te­rial things but we had each other. I know that feel­ing of not hav­ing a base, not hav­ing a place to call home.

“My home and my fam­ily were just up the road but I couldn’t go to them. It was ut­terly dev­as­tat­ing.”

Gail, who works as a mar­ket­ing as­sis­tant, will be joined by more than 200 of her col­leagues on Satur­day night, ready to cheer her on.

She added: “When I started do­ing gigs I was so ner­vous my legs would shake, so I al­ways sat in a chair.

“I know how to take care of my­self. I now recog­nise the signs of de­cline in my mental health and I make sure to ad­dress them early, whether that’s by cre­at­ing more art and mu­sic, tak­ing time out for med­i­ta­tion or a long walk sur­rounded by na­ture.”

Gail Melville will take the stage at Slessor Gar­dens in Dundee

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