Creating Hope Together: suicide prevention strategy 2022 to 2032

Scotland's Suicide Prevention Strategy covering the period from 2022 to 2032.

Measuring our impact and responding to change

External influences

Scotland currently faces a number of challenges linked to recent events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit and the cost of living crisis. This strategy – and its associated action plan – already reflect the suicide prevention work required to support the COVID-19 recovery and mitigate against other events. However, we appreciate that socio-economic issues, such as the cost of living crisis, have the potential to exacerbate many of the factors we know contribute to suicide. It is therefore timely that this strategy takes a whole of Government and society approach, for example; where we recognise the connections to money, debt, homelessness, and child poverty – among other factors.

While we work to mitigate against the potential negative consequences, we must also seize the opportunities associated with external developments. For example, the increased willingness of people to discuss their mental health and the community cohesion associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. These are also built into our action plan and we will continue to seek opportunities to develop work around protective factors.

We will ensure our approach to delivering suicide prevention activity is flexible and responsive to the changing landscape we are operating in. This includes the transformative redesign of community health and social care through the creation of the National Care Service which will support more multi-disciplinary and person centred care. We will remain alert to emerging strategic developments and consider how to respond through the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) and Delivery Collective which will be established as part of the implementation of the action plan.

Measuring change

It is critical that we understand the impact this strategy is having on suicide in Scotland. Through the indicators in our outcomes framework we will be able to measure the difference our actions (including those set out under the whole of Government and society approach) are making to delivering the short and intermediate outcomes, and in time, the long term outcomes and vision.

We will also ensure regular evaluation, monitoring and review is built into the programme of delivery at both national and local level. Reports on progress will be published and more detail will be set out in the outcomes framework.

Responding to change

Our approach to continuous improvement across the action plan, together with more timely data on suicides, will allow for ongoing refinements to our delivery approach. Also, as the action plans will be refreshed over the course of this 10 year strategy, there will be natural opportunities to take account of changing circumstances and evidence, as those new action plans are being prepared.

The Delivery Collective (see page 26) will also be well placed to routinely identify and assess emerging issues – using its new horizon scanning function as well as ongoing analysis of data, insights, evidence and practice feedback.

Where any issues arise that may need an immediate reprioritisation of effort or approach, the Delivery Collective will highlight these to the NSPLG for consideration. The NSPLG will then provide advice to the Scottish Government and COSLA on direction and priorities, and it will be for the Scottish Government and COSLA to agree any changes to the current action plan in response.



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