National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group minutes: July 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 21 July 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Ms Rose Fitzpatrick (Chair) 
  • Dr Carol Buchanan
  • Ms Rachel Cackett
  • Ms Julie Cameron
  • Ms Fiona Drouet
  • Dr David Hall 
  • Mr Nigel Henderson
  • Chief Superintendent Linda Jones
  • Dr Amy Knighton
  • Ms Claire Sweeney
  • Mr Alan Thornburrow
  • Mr Billy Watson

In attendance:

  • Professor Steve Platt, Academic Advisory Group
  • Ms Danielle Rowley, Samaritans
  • Ms Shirley Windsor, Public Health Scotland
  • Ms Laura MacDonald, Programme Manager
  • Ms Claire MacBride-Stewart, Programme Support Officer

Scottish Government:

  • Mr Dan Curran
  • Mr Keir McDonald
  • Ms Lauren Paterson
  • Ms Morag Williamson
  • Mr Craig Wilson

Action 7 presentation:

  • Ms Carolyn Lochhead, SAMH (Delivery Lead Action 7, At Risk Groups)
  • Mr Craig Smith, SAMH
  • Dr Tiago Zortea, Academic Advisory Group
  • Dr Ima Jackson, TREEM
  • Ms Judy Wasige, TREEM


  • Dr Alastair Cook
  • Mr Warren Hawke
  • Ms Lara McDonald
  • Professor Rory O’Connor
  • Ms Jane O’Donnell
  • Ms Angela Scott

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed Members to the twenty third meeting of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) (“the Group”). 

The Chair welcomed Ms MacDonald to her first meeting as Programme Manager and introduced Ms Rowley, Influencing Manager, Samaritans, to the Group noting that she would be present for the first part of the meeting.

The Chair was pleased to report that the United to Prevent Suicide social movement had won a Marketing Society Gold Design Award. She thanked everyone involved in the work including The Union design agency. In addition the Chair reported that a recent report by the World Health Organisation recognised the work of the Group’s Lived Experience Panel. It was also noted that there had been an increase in communications and media around the work of the Group.

The Chair noted that NSPLG member Ms Nicky Reid would soon be returning from maternity leave and would be attending the Group’s meeting in September.

Ms Williamson reported that decisions would be made shortly on funding from the Scottish Government’s Recovery and Renewal Fund, and invited Members to contact her with any questions.


Apologies were noted.

May 2021 minutes

The Chair noted that the minutes from the Group’s meeting in May had been circulated for comment and requested that any further comments be collated by the Secretariat and sent to her to sign off. Action 23.1

Action 7 (at risk groups) presentation and next steps

A paper setting out the second phase of work around At Risk Groups had been sent to the Group prior to the meeting. The paper had highlighted the key insights identified and proposed next steps. This built on the first phase of work undertaken in 2019/20 and focused on the experiences of people from minority ethnic backgrounds/racialised communities and veterans. 

It was reported that the Training Research Education and Engagement Management (TREEM) Consultancy, led by Dr Ima Jackson, were commissioned to carry out qualitative engagements with people from minority ethnic communities/racialised communities who had been affected by suicide. It was reported that four key themes emerged from the engagements: racism, immigration, mistrust of services, stigma and lack of knowledge within racialised communities. 

Similarly, qualitative engagements were held with people from the military veterans community who had been affected by suicide. It was highlighted that there were challenges with recruiting volunteers for the qualitative engagements with veterans and there is a need for further work on academic evidence within Scotland and UK. It was reported that challenges faced by people in crisis included stigma, difficulties speaking to other veterans (peer support), lack of knowledge and understanding, lack of services, long waiting times, lack of signposting to support and no support when leaving the military.

It was reported that common themes, in line with the IMV model, included struggles with identity, relationships, maintaining households and not being represented or understood.

A discussion took place around the complexities of these groups and it was noted that the paper provided great depth and insight into their varied lived experiences. It was reported that Samaritans are undertaking work to support veterans which could be integrated into the action 7 work. It was noted that the findings around peer support should be understood in the context of the small number of people engaged with.

The Chair thanked the team for the extensive and sensitive work undertaken to produce the wide-ranging report. It was agreed that this work should not be considered as limited to a single part of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan (action 7), but should inform all the Group’s work including its contribution to developing the new suicide prevention strategy for Scotland.

It was noted that Ms Lochhead is moving on to a new role and the Chair thanked her for her contributions to the delivery of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

Workshop on priorities for the year ahead and transitioning to the new strategy 

The Group took part in a workshop led by the Scottish Government Policy Team to consider priorities and planning for the additional year of the Suicide Prevention Action Plan, whilst supporting development of the new suicide prevention strategy and thereafter its delivery. The outputs from the session would help to inform the Group’s third annual report, due for publication in September 2021, and, following the session, input would be sought from the Lived Experience Panel, Academic Advisory Group and Delivery Leads. Following the breakout sessions, there was a discussion around the findings from each breakout group. The Policy Team undertook to collate the feedback from the session and share with the Group at a later date. ACTION 23.2

There was a discussion around how the Group could engage and communicate differently to improve the quality of engagement nationally and locally with key sectors. It was noted that key sectors could include employers, universities/colleges, as well as a wider network of diverse organisations and individuals and communities.

There was a discussion around how the Group could ensure that work across the action plan supports improved public awareness and understanding of suicide, building on more effective assessement of long term change.

Programme update 

A programme update had been shared with the Group prior to the meeting. Ms MacDonald reported that the Programme Management team were looking at risks and pulling together a risk register/strategy. She also noted that they were having one to one meetings with Delivery Leads and considering the format and frequency of the Delivery Lead meetings.


The Chair thanked everyone for their valuable contributions to the meeting and workshop, and noted that the Group was on the cusp of exciting and challenging next steps. The next meeting would take place on 15 September 2021. 

Summary of actions from the NSPLG meeting held on 21 July 2021 

Members to send any amendments to the May minutes to the Secretariat.

Policy Team to share feedback from the Priorities and Transition Workshop breakout sessions with the Group.

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