This is our second NSPLG annual report and is published as we move into the final year of the three year Suicide Prevention Action Plan: Every Life Matters.
When Every Life Matters was published and the NSPLG established we could not have anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic or how fundamentally it has affected the lives of people across Scotland. The pandemic has also affected progress on delivering some of the actions in the Suicide Prevention Action Plan but as we publish this report there are indications that some of the work on those actions will be able to resume.
In identifying the four key priorities for suicide prevention during the pandemic set out in our COVID-19 Statement of June 2020, we strongly asserted that suicide prevention should continue to be an integral part of Scotland’s COVID-19 pandemic public health response and recovery phases. We were pleased that those priorities and our recommendation that Scotland should have a new long-term suicide prevention strategy to follow on from Every Life Matters, were accepted in full by the Scottish Government and by COSLA.
The launch by the NSPLG on World Suicide Prevention Day 10 September 2020 of a new suicide prevention identity and campaign for Scotland could not have been more timely. United to Prevent Suicide is intended to spark a social movement in which people across the country step forward to ask for or give help when help is needed, because they have the confidence to talk about suicide without stigma or fear of saying the wrong thing.
The choice of strapline for United to Prevent Suicide: “Together we can save lives, so let’s talk suicide” is not incidental. Now more than ever, the strong collaborations we have built between people with lived experience of suicide, members of the NSPLG, a broad range of stakeholders and those working so hard behind the scenes to create this new movement must be extended. Now we need individuals in families, communities and workplaces across Scotland to feel confident to talk about suicide, to ask for help, and to give it.
As Scotland’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group we want everyone in Scotland to be United to Prevent Suicide. We will continue to do everything in our power to minimise the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and to champion suicide prevention in every home, workplace and community across the country.
Because every life matters.