National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group minutes: October 2019

Minutes of the meeting of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, held on 23 October 2019.

Attendees and apologies


  • Ms Rose Fitzpatrick (Chair) 
  • Mr George Dodds (via telephone)
  • Chief Superintendent Davie Duncan
  • Dr David Hall 
  • Mr Nigel Henderson
  • Dr John Mitchell
  • Ms Nicky Reid
  • Ms Angela Scott
  • Dr Michael Smith
  • Mr Billy Watson 


  • Mr Andy Grierson (Programme Manager)
  • Mr Toni Giugliano
  • Dr Amy Knighton
  • Ms Lara McDonald
  • Ms Jane O’Donnell

In attendance:

  • Ms Innes Fyfe (Scottish Government)
  • Professor Rory O’Connor (Academic Advisory Group)
  • Professor Steve Platt (Academic Advisory Group)
  • Ms Della Robb (Scottish Government)
  • Mr Craig Wilson (Scottish Government)

Guest speakers:

  • Ms Wendy Halliday, Interim Director of See Me
  • Mr Keir McKechnie, Lived Experience Panel Co-ordinator

Items and actions

1. Welcome from the Chair


1.1. The Chair welcomed Members to Hampden Park for the twelfth meeting of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) (the Group) and thanked hosts the SPFL Trust for their hospitality. Apologies were noted.


1.2. The Chair noted that the Group’s Annual Report was published on 30th September 2019 and had received good coverage. All the recommendations were accepted by Scottish Government and COSLA.
1.3. The Chair introduced Ms Robb and welcomed her to her first NSPLG meeting. She advised that Ms Halliday, Interim Director of See Me and Mr McKechnie, Lived Experience Panel Co-ordinator would be arriving at lunch time and would be giving presentations in the afternoon session.

September Minutes 

1.4. The Group reviewed the September minutes and these were agreed.  Action 12.1

Action Log

1.5. Ms Fyfe presented the Action Log. Open and ongoing actions were discussed and updated. Mr Dodds confirmed that work with NHS Scotland/ISD around the timings of statistics and publications is ongoing, therefore Action 4.5 should remain open. Mr Watson confirmed that Action 10.9 is complete as the proposal for approval for initial development funding was agreed, although there is a need for all future plans to be submitted to the NSPLG.  Prof Platt confirmed he would liaise with Mr Grierson to clarify Action Point 11.14 regarding the IMV Model outcome data in Ireland.

2. Suicide Prevention Action Plan (SPAP) Delivery Programme Updates

Delivery Lead Confirmation

2.1. Almost all Delivery Leads are now confirmed and the first meeting of the NSPLG Delivery Leads Group would take place on 6th November 2019. Ms Fyfe confirmed that award letters have been issued to the organisations who would host Delivery Leads. Ms Fyfe reported that Ms O’Donnell had let her know that the recruitment for the Delivery Lead on Actions 1 and 10 would commence in the next week. 

Delivery Funding

2.2. The Group considered the projected spend for the financial year 2019/20. The Group agreed it was a good starting draft for an overview and suggested improvements to ensure the group had sufficient information to support their recommendations to The Scottish Government on funding Suicide Prevention. Action 12.1

NSPLG Delivery Leads Group Governance Paper

2.3. The Group were presented with a paper from the Programme Manager outlining a proposed Governance and Reporting Approach between the NSPLG and the NSPLG Delivery Leads Group. This approach intends to provide Members with a robust governance and reporting structure to be assured on progress against the actions, highlight areas of concern, and the overall impact on the programme. The paper was well received and NSPLG Members were encouraged to provide feedback to the Programme Manager. Action 12.2

Other Updates

2.4. Ms Fyfe and Prof Platt had attended England's National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group on Tuesday 22nd October. Ms Fyfe reported that the NSPLG-equivalent groups from other UK nations were keen to collaborate and offered to share the presentations with Members. The Group discussed routinely sharing such information with other working groups. Action 12.3 
2.5. Dr Mitchell advised that agreements, plans and timelines ‎for work on children and young people’s mental health would be available following Children and Young People Mental Health Implementation Board’s discussions. He agreed to set up links with the Implementation Board and the Scottish Government policy area to ensure information is communicated. Action 12.4
2.6. Dr Mitchell reported that he chaired the Independent Advisory Group of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH) in September and the NCISH annual report would be published on 14 November.
2.7. Dr Mitchell briefly spoke about the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Quality Indicator Profile and agreed to share this with the Group. Action 12.5

SPAP Evaluation Framework

2.8. Prof O’Connor provided an update on the evaluability work and proposed outcomes. He asked the Group to agree to the outcomes and allow work to progress on the logic model. He stated that it would be clear by end of December what could be evaluated and whether an evaluation could then go ahead, and it was agreed to bring this back to the first NSPLG meeting in 2020. Prof O’Connor noted that discussion with the Delivery Leads and Sponsors is needed to discuss how outcomes would fit with actions.
2.9. The proposal was well received and the Group agreed that the framework would also be pivotal to making wider recommendations to the Scottish Government beyond the SPAP. The Group discussed that because evaluation would be beginning halfway through the lifespan of the SPAP, a separate report from the Group at that stage would be useful in recommending to the Scottish Government the Group’s view on future suicide prevention strategy in Scotland. The Chair advised that she would begin working with Members toward a report in Spring 2020. Action 12.6

3. NSPLG Member Updates

Action 2: Training

3.1. Ms Reid provided an update on Action 2. She had met with Stonewall who have offered to be part of a testing group on looking at feedback on LGBT+ needs and provisions. They discussed the IMV Model and Stonewall are comfortable that the LGBT+ community are being heard. She reported that she had also met with the Scottish Grocers Federation who are keen to disseminate the animations and resources. With regard to future engagements, Ms Reid had a meeting scheduled at Police College HQ to discuss work in the training of police officers. She let the group know about anecdotal reports of a mixed picture in schools and that she is keen to engage with schools and education organisations to understand the work being done to promote training.

Action 3: Public Awareness

3.2. Mr Watson provided an update on Action 3. He noted that since the Group agreed to make a recommendation for initial funding, the Delivery Leads from SAMH and Health Scotland had made good progress. A competitive process is underway and Mr Watson suggested that the group invite the successful agency to the December meeting to discuss their plans.  SAMH now had an outlay for managing this work. Funding for this initial development is to be provided from the Scottish Government and Ms Fyfe advised that she would be seeking sign off in the coming week. Action 12.7

Action 4: Support for those affected by suicide

3.3. The Chair provided a brief update on work Mr Giugliano and Ms Moss had been undertaking around Action 4. A proposal on testing suicide bereavement support would be brought to the December meeting for the Group’s consideration.

Action 5: Crisis support

3.4. Mr Henderson provided an update on Action 5. He had become a member of the Distress Interventions Group, chaired by Mr Jacques Kerr and reported that this was an important link for the Group. A crisis support workshop would be taking place on 18th November. He also reported that he is liaising with NHS 24 on types of crisis response and digital approaches and welcomed NHS 24’s nomination of a dedicated single point of contact for NSPLG work.

Action 7: At Risk Groups

3.5. Mr Watson provided an update on Action 7. He confirmed that work is ready to move forward and had been scoped since June, but the specific, targeted engagement work with least-heard groups could not progress further without committed funding. Ms Fyfe reminded the group that the response from Scottish Government to the recommendation made in the annual report to fund engagement had been positive.  She advised that delivery would be required to be on a competitive basis and the tendering and award process would take some time.  She advised that there would be internal Scottish Government discussions that week but that she had no basis to recommend an extraordinary non-competitive action for this work. Mr Watson raised his concern that the work would be 9 months behind by the time the process was concluded. The Chair stated that the processes to fund delivery of the SPAP actions should facilitate rather than slow down progress.  She assured the Group that she would work with Ms Fyfe to identify and address barriers to progress.  Action 12.8 and 12.9

Action 8: Children and Young People

3.6. Dr Mitchell provided an update on Action 8. He confirmed that 56 young people had been through the DBI process after it was opened to 16-17 year olds in the first quarter of this year. He reported that scoping work on 24/7 crisis support services specifically for children and young people would take place in November/December and would be rolled out in April 2020. Dr Mitchell said he would confirm when Ministerial decisions have been made on this and arrange for the Group to be informed on the agreements, plans and timelines.

4.Improving Complex Systems (Tests of Change) Presentation

4.1. Ms Scott gave a presentation on Tests of Change. She highlighted the difference between using the tests of change approach and running a pilot. She encouraged the Group to consider using the tests of change principles to bridge the gap between academic research and applied practice at local level. The presentation was well received and led to a discussion on how the approach could be applied to the work of the Group. It was agreed that the Chair, Ms Scott and Ms O’Donnell would discuss how this might be relevant to Action 1. Action 12.10 

5.See Me Stigma Presentation

5.1. Ms Halliday, Interim Director of See Me, gave a presentation on See Me, which is Scotland's programme to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination. She highlighted their goal to end mental health stigma and discrimination, enabling people who experience mental health problems to live fulfilled lives and noted that their mission contributes directly to the Scottish Government’s ambition of creating “A Scotland where people can get the right help at the right time, expect recovery, and fully enjoy their rights, free from discrimination and stigma”.

5.2. The presentation was well received and the Group discussed how stigma affects suicide prevention and how tackling stigma should become integrated in each of the SPAP actions, and form part of the SPAP evaluation. The Group agreed that tackling stigma should become a core feature of the Delivery Plan, running through all the Actions alongside Inequalities and Children and Young People.  It was agreed that this should be remitted to the NSPLG Delivery Leads Group to update the Delivery Plan accordingly. Action 12.11

6. NSPLG Lived Experience Panel Presentation

6.1. Mr McKechnie, the newly-appointed NSPLG Lived Experience Panel Co-Ordinator, gave a presentation on the creation of the NSPLG Lived Experience Panel. He proposed that the panel be made up of 15 members to ensure the work could be carried out. He highlighted the measures that he was taking to ensure that panel members were able and supported to participate. 

6.2. Mr McKechnie reported that the selection process was underway and would conclude in mid-November with a first meeting in December. He reported the varied geographical location and characteristics of applicants and reassured the Group that a wider network and variety of events would be established to make sure that many voices could be included in line with the NSPLG’s commissioning aims for the work. 

7. AOB

7.1.The Chair summarised identified agenda items for the next meeting which will take place at Hayweight House, Edinburgh on 4 December 2019.

8. Meeting close

8.1. The Chair thanked Members for their attendance and valuable contributions.

Summary of Actions from the NSPLG Meeting held on 23 October 2019:

  • 12.1.The Scottish Government will provide a breakdown on spend and commitmnets to support Suicide Prevention at the next meeting. This will include a breakdown of 2019/20 spend and commitments and the 2020/21 projection.
  • 12.2.The Group will send feedback to Mr Grierson on the Delivery Leads Group Governance Paper
  • 12.3.Ms Fyfe will share the presentations from England's National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group
  • 12.4.Dr Mitchell will arrange for the group to be informed on the agreements, plans and timelines on children and young people work
  • 12.5.Dr Mitchell will share the Scottish Government’s Mental Health Quality Indicator Profile with the Group
  • 12.6.The chair and Group to discuss the content of a report in spring 2020 at the January meeting
  • 12.7.Ms Fyfe will confirm when funding for Action 3 has been signed off
  • 12.8.Ms Fyfe will provide and update on Action 7 funding  to the Chair and Mr Watson
  • 12.9.The Chair and Ms Fyfe will identify and address barriers to progress in funding processes 
  • 12.10.The Chair, Ms Scott and Ms O’Donnell to discuss how Test of Change could be applied to Action 1
  • 12.11.Mr Grierson will meet with Wendy Halliday, Interim Director of See Me to discuss how tackling stigma should become a core feature of the Delivery Plan, running through all the Actions alongside other cross cutting elements such as: Inequalities: Equalities: At Risk Groups and Children and Young People

Future NSPLG meeting dates:

  • 4 December 2019 – Hayweight House, Edinburgh
  • 15 January 2020 – Venue TBC

A new meeting schedule will be discussed at the meeting on 4 December 2019.

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