National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group minutes: September 2018

Minutes from the first meeting of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG), held on 26 September 2018.

Attendees and apologies


  • Rose Fitzpatrick (Chair)
  • James Jopling, Executive Director for Scotland Samaritans
  • Toni Giugliano, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, Mental Health Foundation
  • Billy Watson, Chief Executive, SAMH
  • George Dodds, Director of Health Equity & Director of Health and Work
  • Jane O’Donnell, Head of Service Policy
  • Angela Scott, Chief Executive, Aberdeen City Council
  • Ruth Moss, Lived Experience Representative
  • Lara McDonald, Youth Representative
  • Dr David Hall, Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Dr John Mitchell, Principal Medical Officer Psychiatry Scottish Government
  • Dr Amy Knighton, Royal College of GPs
  • Chief Superintendent John McKenzie, Police Scotland


  • Nigel Henderson, Chief Executive, Penumbra


  • Shirley Windsor: Discussion point 1
  • Anne Lee: Discussion point 2
  • Isla Wallace: Discussion point 3

Note takers

  • John Brown: Discussion point 1
  • Gavin Russell: Discussion point 2
  • Stuart Duncan: Discussion point 3

NSPLG secretariat

  • Siobhan Mackay
  • Katie Godfrey
  • Pete Whitehouse

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions:

The chair opened the first meeting of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group by welcoming the Minister for Mental Health. The Minister thanked the chair and members for committing their time to the work of the group; spoke about the importance of suicide prevention to her, both personally and professionally; and was clear that the group must deliver change that will help save lives. The Minister confirmed she will stay close to the work of the group and will meet regularly with the chair for updates.  

Members introduced themselves to the Minister, confirming their commitment to this work. The chair rounded off the introductions, highlighting the importance of collaborative working beyond the group itself; the need to link national and local activity, and the importance of grounding the group’s work in the views of those with lived experience. The chair thanked the Minister for her time and the Minister left the meeting at this point.

Terms of reference (ToR):

The chair introduced the draft ToR which had been shared with members in advance. Key discussion points included:

Remit and purpose

The group recognised the remit had been set out in the Suicide Prevention Action Plan and should not change. However, members highlighted a number of important points for the group to consider as it takes forward its work. These included:

  • how national delivery links to national initiatives
  • recognition of the purpose and authority of the group, what it can actively deliver in its own right, and its broader remit to co-ordinate and facilitate activity in collaboration with others who have the authority and levers to deliver change
  • how the group should prioritise and sequence activity to deliver within the timescales set by Ministers
  • the need to reflect the Suicide Prevention Action Plan target to reduce suicides by 20% by 2022 within the ToR


Secretariat will be primarily provided by the Scottish Government Mental Health Division with the opportunity for input from others as and when identified, mirroring the collaborative nature of the group. The group agreed that a small amount of the innovation fund will be required to support additional functions once identified, determined by the work of the group.

Meeting schedule and venues

Meetings will be monthly until the end of 2018. The Group agreed to revisit the meeting schedule at the beginning of 2019.  It was agreed that members should always know the dates of the next three meetings in advance and members were invited to offer up meeting spaces.  


The chair emphasised the importance of members committing to the work of the Group and to personally drive it. The group agreed that members will not send deputies to attend the group and if members cannot attend it is their responsibility to keep up-to-date with developments.  

Communications and engagement

There was a brief discussion and agreement about the importance of developing a communications and engagement plan.


The group heard from Dr John Mitchell on 'Suicide Prevention in Scotland – where have we come from and where are we going?'

Group exercise 

The group split into three facilitated sub-groups to discuss the following: 

  1. What does it mean to be a member the leadership group for the Suicide Prevention Action Plan?  How do we best organise ourselves to deliver?
  2. How do we best build on and commit to continuing the collaborative approach that developed the action plan?
  3. What should the Suicide Prevention Delivery Plan (to be published by the leadership group by 31 December 2018) look like? How do we best prioritise and sequence the work it describes?


The chair brought the meeting to a close, thanking everyone for their time and energy, which had contributed to a very productive meeting. The secretariat would analyse the discussion comments and provide feedback. It was agreed that AOB would be removed from future agendas as new business should not be raised at the end of the meeting. Members reflected on what they had got from the day and each committed to take forward activity relevant to the group ahead of the next meeting. The secretariat confirmed the following agreed actions:

  • ToR: Include the 20% reduction target within the ToR. Members to send additional suggested changes to the secretariat by Friday 28 October to allow them to be finalised ahead of the next meeting by correspondence. 
  • Meetings: next three meetings agreed as 23 October, 14 November and 10 December.  January meeting will be agreed at next meeting (will always have dates of three meetings in advance).
  • Venues: members to offer meeting spaces for group meetings.
  • Delivery plan: members to advise the secretariat of their views on the top three priorities from the action plan prior to the next meeting.





Mental Health and Protection of Rights Division
3ER, St Andrews House
Regent Road

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