Suicide prevention plan moves forward


The views of more than a hundred people who have been directly affected by suicide have been compiled in a new report

20th February 2018 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

A suicide prevention action plan which has drawn on the experiences of those who have lost loved ones will be unveiled later this summer.

The findings of a consultation of more than 100 people who have been directly affected by suicide were presented to Scotland's mental health minister Maureen Watt today (Tuesday).

Since late last year, NHS Health Scotland, the Health and Social Care Academy and Samaritans Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government, have hosted a series of events across the country to hear if there are things that can be done differently to help prevent people from taking their own lives.

Throughout the process, those involved expressed the devastation and tragedy of being bereaved by suicide, suicidal, or supporting someone in crisis.

The report’s findings highlight that the care and support people receive is vital, however it is often lacking. It makes recommendations for where improvements could be made, from training for professionals to recognise suicide risk to ensuring timely, compassionate support is available for those in crisis. It also calls for government to engage with people affected by suicide on an ongoing basis.

Audrey Birt, associate director of the Health and Social Care Academy, said: “People from across Scotland shared their deeply personal experiences of suicide with us and we are extremely grateful to them. They highlighted a mixed picture in terms of the support they received throughout their experiences and some examples of good practice which can be learnt from. We encourage the Scottish Government to listen to their views, create more opportunities for feedback and take further action to prevent suicides in the future.”

Shirley Windsor, from NHS Health Scotland, said: “Every death by suicide is a tragedy with life changing impact on families and communities and we must do everything we can to prevent it. Hearing directly from families affected by suicide is an important part of this. Alongside the evidence of what works, lived experience, like that which was gathered in these events, helps to provide a solid basis for action on suicide prevention in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government aims to publish a new Suicide Prevention Action Plan this summer, following on from the previous Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013-2016.

In 2016, 728 people took their own lives in Scotland. Statistics show that there were 56 more deaths compared to 2015

Samaritans’ executive director for Scotland, James Jopling, said: “This report demonstrates that we need a renewed commitment and bold action for deaths by suicide in Scotland to further decline. We must be ambitious: suicide is preventable and 728 deaths is simply too much heartbreak for too many people in our communities across Scotland. With this action plan, it is more important than ever that we see Scotland return to being a world leader on suicide prevention.”

21st February 2018 by Marion Brown

Full link to Petitioner Submission (PE01651) mentioned in my other comment: 2017/PE1651_OOO.pdf