Coronavirus (COVID-19): mental health - transition and recovery plan

This plan outlines our response to the mental health impacts of COVID-19. It addresses the challenges that the pandemic has had, and will continue to have, on the population’s mental health.

12. Suicide Prevention

Suicide may become a more pressing concern as the pandemic's longer-term impacts on the general population, the economy, and vulnerable groups are felt. Evidence shows there is a greater prevalence of suicide in men. In Scotland in 2018 the rate of probable suicide was almost three times greater in men than women with 581 men who died by probable suicide and 203 women[12]. We want to promote an evidence-based suicide prevention response, in partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG), to deliver interventions where they will make a difference.

  • 12.1 - Suicide Prevention Action Plan. We are working with the NSPLG to drive forward elements of the existing three year Suicide Prevention Action Plan where evidence shows particular relevance to pandemic response. Priority will be given to work on a public awareness campaign on suicide prevention; developing models of crisis support; supporting the delivery of innovations in digital technology that improve suicide prevention; and using data, evidence, monitoring and guidance to maximise impact.
  • 12.2 - Public Health Response. In partnership with the NSPLG, COSLA, and Public Health Scotland we will embed suicide prevention within the public health response to Covid-19 at a local and national level. This will offer partners data, evidence and resources to prevent suicide and make sure that our communities are supported.
  • 12.3 - A Pandemic-Specific Response. We are working with the NSPLG and stakeholders to take forward the four priority actions for a pandemic-specific suicide prevention response as recommended by the NSPLG in its Covid-19 statement.
  • 12.4 - Future Long-Term Strategy. We will work with COSLA in considering how a future longer-term suicide prevention strategy could be shaped.
  • 12.5 - Suicide Reporting and Learning System. We are working with Healthcare Improvement Scotland to enhance the role of the Suicide Reporting and Learning System (SRLS) in quality assuring suicide reviews and disseminating learning.
  • 12.6 - Veterans. We are working with the NSPLG to identify prevention opportunities in relation to veterans at risk of suicide, alongside our existing work on population groups at elevated risk of suicide.
  • 12.7 - Self-Harm. We recognise that self-harm is not only a risk factor in suicide, but is also a complex behaviour that people use as a form of self-management. We will improve our understanding of the prevalence and nature of self-harm. This will be used to guide our policy approach which will be developed in close collaboration with partners, including Local Authorities.



Back to top