Suicide prevention strategy and action plan: consultation analysis

Analysis of responses during consultation period of the development of Creating Hope Together: Scotland's suicide prevention strategy and action plan.

General Delivery & Governance

We advised that the NSPLG and Delivery Collective will be connected into wider Scottish Government governance structures to ensure strategic connections are made, including those addressing the wider determinants of mental health (which we know are similar to those impacting on suicide).

Local leadership and accountability for suicide prevention will sit with Chief Officers in line with public protection guidance. As part of this role, Chief Officers will connect into Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) which will help ensure suicide prevention is considered as a priority in the wider strategic context, and that all local partners are engaged and supportive.

We Asked

We asked respondents to share any other comments they have in relation to the delivery and governance proposals described.

You Said

There were 94 responses to this part of the consultation. Key themes included:

  • A question about whether considerations have been made to accommodate the new National Care Service when Chief Officers' will no longer have the responsibility for Health and Social Care for adults (and potentially Justice Services and Children's Services too).
  • A request for more clarity on job roles and responsibilities, in particular around the role of 'Chief Officers'.
  • A need to review the membership of the NSPLG, including to see education as having a key role on the Group.
  • The suggested links with Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) seem logical in terms of addressing the wider impact of poverty and inequality. However, a recognition that CPPs would need to be supported to exercise the level of leadership and resource - which would be required to deliver against this vital agenda. This quote highlights the point: "(in some areas), there are well developed Suicide Prevention partnership arrangements in place which provide a locus for a collaborative strategic approach. CPPs should take cognisance of these arrangements and ensure integration between suicide prevention strategies and plans and local outcome agreements".
  • A call for achievement indicators for local partners to work to, to maintain their engagement and ongoing support.
  • Concerns regarding centralised structures taking the lead, coupled with a desire for much more community empowerment.

We Did

Based on the feedback from the consultation and discussions with relevant stakeholders, additional information was added on the responsibilities for local suicide prevention delivery and infrastructure. This included:

  • The role of Chief Officers on suicide prevention being more explicitly linked to their public protection role, which is supported by suicide prevention being set out as a key responsibility within Chief Officers' Public Protection induction pack.
  • Continuing to engage with the development of the National Care Service to ensure continued prioritisation for suicide prevention. This includes ensuring consideration is given to how new structures can continue to support delivery of the suicide prevention strategy.

There are also areas of work which were implemented as part of Every Life Matters which have developed and provide opportunities to connect local and national work, such as the creation of a new team of implementation leads based in Public Health Scotland.

The Delivery Collective will also provide opportunities to enhance the connections and learning between local areas, and between work taking place at national, local and sectoral levels – drawing on evidence based practice to drive action right across Scotland. As mentioned, the design of the Delivery Collective, and the surrounding communications, will highlight its intended value as a space for collective learning and collaboration whilst making sure national and local accountabilities are clear. The National Delivery Lead will hold responsibility for creating this suicide prevention community which we know a range of partners and stakeholders are eager to be connected into, and play an active role within.

In response to feedback that the strategy and action plan did not give sufficient detail on the role of the private sector, we have strengthened this across the strategy. We see there are clear and early opportunities to developing new resources and networking opportunities to help the private sector understand their role further, and to inform and support the delivery of the whole action plan.

There was also feedback that the role of the third sector could be more explicit, and again we have taken that on board in drafting.

General Comments on the Strategy

Respondents were asked if they had further comments on the strategy. This section received 81 responses, and the main themes are highlighted below:

  • Widespread support for the work already underway, including: reducing stigma, improving awareness and learning, ensuring compassionate and effective support at all levels of need (including digital), and valuing the role for communities and statutory services to support people affected by suicide.
  • Desire to see funding commitment to deliver the ambition of the strategy and action plan.
  • A recognition that the third / voluntary sector are crucial to the delivery of this work.
  • Explicit references to the support required for carers and people bereaved by suicide.
  • Greater understanding of how technology and innovation can be used to advance work in this area.
  • Need to embed a public health approach consistently across the strategy and action plan.
  • More explicit links between health inequalities and suicide.

We Did

In response to the themes highlighted above, the direct and indirect funding available to deliver the strategy has been set out. In addition, the new Delivery Collective model will provide continued transparency on the allocation of funds.

On the role of the third sector, we have now referenced that explicitly, recognising the significant and valuable role the sector already pay on suicide prevention, and the scope to extend that to a wider range of third sector partners through the new Delivery Collective model.

Clear actions have been included regarding the support for carers and people bereaved by suicide in the action plan. This builds on the Suicide Bereavement Support Service pilot which is already underway through the previous action plan.

To reflect the widespread support for continuing all areas of suicide prevention work that was commenced through the previous action plan, we have made the decision to continue delivery of all current actions, and this is set out within the new action plan. This includes ongoing consideration of work to understand how technology and innovation can support suicide prevention efforts.

We absolutely recognise that suicide prevention is a public health issue. Suicide prevention in Scotland has always had this focus and will continue to do so. Drawing on the feedback, we have now made this point more explicitly and clarified the role we see Public Health Scotland playing, both in the strategy and in many of the actions set out.

Finally, the need to focus on the inequalities which contribute to suicide was a strong message at all stages of engagement. This has been threaded throughout the strategy and set out explicitly in the vision.



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