Stronger suicide prevention

Draft suicide prevention plan published for public views.

Workplaces across Scotland will receive a suicide prevention and mental health training programme under proposals announced today.

The Scottish Government is seeking views on the creation a nation-wide training programme, aimed at embedding mental health training in workplaces.

Other proposals in the draft Suicide Prevention Action Plan include:

  • making more use of social media to provide information and support
  • building stronger partnerships between public, private and third sector organisations
  • better use of data and evidence to ensure more effective interventions

Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt launched the draft plan at a public event in Edinburgh to get the views of people directly affected by suicide and those delivering frontline services.

Ms Watt said:

“Every life matters and everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention. While the suicide rate in Scotland has fallen over the past decade, I want us to go further to prevent deaths. It is vital we hear the views of people affected by suicide and those delivering support as we shape our action plan.

“As part of our proposals, we aim to produce a world-leading suicide prevention training programme for employers. We need to create a culture across Scotland where workplaces deliver mental health and suicide prevention training with the same commitment as physical health emergency training such as CPR and first aid.”

Shirley Windsor, lead for Public Mental Health at NHS Health Scotland, said:

“Every death by suicide is a tragedy with life-changing impact on families and communities. We must do everything we can to prevent it. This includes developing more responsive services and listening to people with lived experience. The draft proposals out today give us an opportunity to do this.

“We are particularly pleased to see recognition of the need for a universal response to suicide prevention. The training programme, raising skills and building confidence in everyone, not just professionals, to spot and respond to people in distress, has huge potential to help prevent suicide in Scotland.”

James Jopling, Executive Director for Samaritans in Scotland, said:

“Last year 728 people died by suicide in Scotland and it remains the leading cause of death for men under 50 across the UK. As such, the impact that suicide has across our communities is huge.

“We urge people across Scotland to get involved and help shape the Scottish Government’s suicide prevention plans. Suicide is preventable and we must be bold to reduce the devastation this causes for so many.”


Draft Suicide Prevention Action Plan and public engagement

The draft plan is open for public comment online for seven-weeks as well as six public events being held during March and April, with a view to publishing the final plan in the summer.

Activity undertaken to inform the draft action plan included meetings and events late  2017 and early 2018 with people affected by suicide and those who provide frontline support and meetings also with third sector and academic stakeholders.

In Scotland in 2016 there were 728 deaths by suicide. There has been an overall decrease of 17% in the rate of suicide in Scotland since 2006.


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