Suicide prevention strategy development: early engagement - summary report

Summary report of views gathered during the early engagement phase to support development of Scotland's new suicide prevention strategy and action plan 2022.

Priority Areas

Respondents to the survey and participants in the workshop sessions were asked to identify the areas that they thought should be addressed as a priority. These are outlined below.

Training and Capacity Building

Training was seen as critical by the majority of participants. It was suggested that training should be tailored to meet the needs of a wide range of public sector workers. Some examples from a very long list include, teachers, first responders, general practitioners, public transport staff and school nurses. Workplace training, accessible to all staff should be provided that delivered, “ongoing training for professionals in the workplace.”

However, community based training was also referenced on numerous occasions and indeed many suggested “training for everyone.”

Improved Access to Support Services

A majority of workshop participants stated that easier access to support services should be provided. Typical comments included, “quicker and easier access to services” and “easily accessible non-stigmatising services available for any level of distress.”

Many respondents referenced the need to decrease waiting list times, provide a 24 hour drop-in service and ensure a simple and effective referral process with a single point of contact to access support.

Respondents also felt that access to a safe community base could be helpful and act as a support for people. This did not necessarily need to be a ‘mental health’ resource or service, but somewhere people felt comfortable to go so that it would support early intervention.

Education Settings

Schools were seen as key locations for preventing suicide by raising awareness and understanding from an early age. A ‘whole school approach’ to suicide could act by “promoting discussions for children and young people” and “building resilience in children” with support from “trained teachers, school nurses and counsellors”. It was also suggested that suicide prevention could be included in the curriculum so “kids are able to differentiate between low mood and suicidal thoughts”.

Raising Awareness

“Raising awareness and facilitating discussions”, “raising awareness in communities” and a “public awareness campaign” were all routinely mentioned by respondents.

It was also suggested that initiatives that “encourage people to feel that talking about suicide and their feelings was normal” should be encouraged.

Other responses included widespread advertising that reaches out to and engages with everyone. This will require a variety of approaches which could for example include, advertising at education facilities across Scotland, sharing information on social media, and providing mobile phone apps.

It was also suggested that the contribution small local services can make to preventing suicide in communities should be recognised and supported financially.

Multi-agency Working

Greater efforts should be made to work collaboratively across sectors. “Working cross-sector”, “working together, locally and nationally”, “multi-channel approach” and “better links between national and local work” were all proposed.

Other Priority Areas

Other areas that were mentioned as a priority were the involvement of people with lived experience and better use of data and research evidence to determine the effectiveness of interventions.



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