Suicide prevention action plan: every life matters

The new action plan has been designed to continue the work from the 2013-2016 suicide prevention strategy and the strong downward trend in suicide rates in Scotland.

Ministerial Foreword

The Scottish Government believes that no death by suicide should be regarded as either acceptable or inevitable. 

In the past decade, Scotland has made real progress in addressing this hugely important issue. Between 2002-2006 and 2013-2017, the rate of death by suicide in Scotland fell by 20%. That reduction is testament to the dedication, expertise and hard work of all those who work to prevent suicides in our society. 

However, it is clear that as a country, we have far more to do. 

The Scottish Government’s vision, which is shared by our partners in mental health and suicide prevention, is of a Scotland where suicide is preventable; where help and support is available to anyone contemplating suicide and to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. 

This document sets out the Scottish Government’s plan – working with our partners – to achieve those objectives. It lists the actions which leaders at a national, regional and local level must take to transform society’s response and attitudes towards suicide. Crucially, those actions extend beyond health and social care. The approach we’ve set out is a cross-government one – which recognises the need for further collective action to prevent deaths by suicide.

The Plan has been developed with partners, stakeholders and people who have been directly affected by suicide. I am very grateful to all those who took the time to attend meetings and public engagement events. Your views and experiences played a hugely important part in informing and shaping this document.

The scope of this Plan reflects our shared determination to bring about a step change in suicide prevention in Scotland. I am confident that by working together across sectors, organisations and society, we can better identify and support people in distress, strengthen communities, and save lives.

Clare Haughey
Minister for Mental Health



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