Creating Hope Together: suicide prevention action plan 2022 to 2025

Scotland's Suicide Prevention Action Plan covering the period from 2022 to 2025.

Outcome 1

Outcome 1: The environment we live in promotes the conditions which protect against suicide risk – this includes our psychological, social, cultural, economic and physical environment.


  • Build a whole of Government and whole society approach to address the social determinants which have the greatest link to suicide risk.

Context / Messages

  • We must strengthen our approach to suicide prevention by addressing the social determinants specific to suicide prevention. To support that we will adopt a whole of Government and society approach to suicide prevention. This will involve aligning policy action to ensure all relevant Government polices take action to prevent suicide – from the policy design stage, right through to delivery. Our approach will encompass the spectrum of need – prevention, early intervention, intervention, postvention, and recovery. We will focus on social, economic and spatial policies – and strive to reach communities most affected by inequalities and poverty.
  • We also recognise the need to ensure our communities are suicide safe places, and we will seek to proactively design-in suicide-aware places and buildings, and be responsive to practice and evidence on access to means of suicide, including locations of concern.
  • We recognise that responsible media reporting (including social media) of suicide is needed, and we will work with the sector to improve this.

What we will keep doing

  • Deploy research and wider findings on risk and protective factors to increase knowledge and support targeted action across our suicide prevention work
  • Consider the findings from the Delphi study which seeks to engage a network of academic experts, health professionals and people with lived experience of suicide and self-harm, with a view to developing a set of best-practice guidelines to help prevent suicide by hanging and self-poisoning
  • Continue to work with UK Government and Ofcom to ensure the forthcoming legislation on online harms is robust and implemented rigorously in Scotland
  • Take a human rights based approach to our work and engage with protected characteristics groups – in recognition of the impact that discrimination can have on the mental health of those who are, for example, LGBTI, disabled people or racialised groups.

New actions

Action area 1: Whole of Government and society approach

Action 1.1: Whole of Government and society approach (supported by local policies and action)

We know that suicide prevention needs to be much more than acting at the point people are suicidal, we must use our knowledge of risk and protective factors to take action at every opportunity to mitigate against suicide, and to support people at the earliest opportunity. To support this, engagement has taken place across Government and COSLA to identify where suicide prevention can be connected into wider policies and delivery.

We have worked to ensure a joined-up approach to delivering suicide prevention. This action sets out the current whole of Government policy actions where there are opportunities to make explicit links to suicide prevention and which:

Are critical to addressing the social determinants / causes and inequalities of suicide. For example, actions around poverty, homelessness and substance use

Extend the opportunities to prevent suicide by integrating a suicide prevention element into an existing service or the delivery of Government policy on the ground – for example, ensuring the workforce in settings which may be a touchpoint for people who are suicidal have increased awareness and skills to respond to people in distress, and who are suicidal.

These actions are detailed in Annex A, and will be updated on a rolling basis as policy developments occur. While these actions have been presented under the Whole of Government and society approach action area, we recognise that some are also relevant under other action areas.

** We consider children and young people will benefit from this action.

Action area 2: Access to Means

Action 2.1: Develop a comprehensive, cross sector action plan to address locations of concern with an initial focus on falling / jumping from height (and which complements the national guidance).

Action 2.2: Consider priority actions on access to means following the Delphi study, as well as wider work on locations of concern such as waterways, railways and retail outlets.

** We consider children and young people will benefit from this action.

Action area 3: Media reporting

Action 3.1: Work with the national and local media sector to hold a series of awareness raising events about responsible media reporting (including social media) – drawing on lived experience.

** We consider children and young people will benefit from this action.



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