Poverty is driving Scots to suicide

Samaritans volunteer

6th March 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

A society where low incomes, job insecurity and zero-hours contracts are exacerbated by unmanageable debts and poor housing is putting people at increased risk of suicide.

A Samaritans’ report, Dying from Inequality, points to a link between socioeconomic disadvantage and suicidal behaviour and says governments should place a stronger emphasis on suicide prevention as an inequality issue.

It calls for national suicide prevention strategies to be targeted at the most vulnerable people and places, in order to reduce geographical inequalities in suicide.

Samaritans also call on workplaces to put in place suicide preventions plans and provide better psychological support for employees experiencing job insecurity or affected by downsizing.

Less skilled occupations have higher rates of suicide, and a low level of educational attainment and no home ownership has been found to increase an individuals risk of suicide.

Most recent figures show nearly 700 Scots took their own lives over a 12-month period.

Men in the lowest social class, living in the most deprived areas, are up to 10 times more at risk of suicide then those in the highest social class living in the most affluent areas, the report says.

The report also states that disadvantaged people are less likely to seek help for mental health problems and less likely to be referred by GPs to specialist mental health services after self-harm, the report says.

James Jopling, executive director for Samaritans in Scotland, said: "Everyone can feel overwhelmed at times in their life.

"Those who are at risk of suicide are people that have employers, who seek help at job centres, go to their GP, people that come into contact with national and local government agencies, perhaps on a daily basis.

"So in the light of this report we are asking key people and organisations from across society in Scotland to take action to make sure their service, their organisation, their community are doing all they can to promote mental health and prevent the tragedy of suicide.

"Each suicide statistic is a person, with or without family, friends, community, colleagues. This report is a call for us as individuals to care more and for organisations that can make a difference, to do so."

More frontline staff should be trained in suicide prevention says the charity and all local authorities to have effective suicide prevention plans in place.

The Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123