This is the third annual report of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG), established in September 2018 to support the delivery of Scotland's Suicide Prevention Action Plan Every Life Matters, published in August 2018.
People are at the heart of everything we do. We know that every loss of life to suicide is a tragedy for families, for friends and for communities, which is why we put the insight of our Lived Experience Panel at the core of all our action. Their experience, combined with the expertise of our Academic Advisory Group and the hard work of NSPLG delivery leads, enables us to do our work. The compassion and commitment they all bring really does save lives.
Suicide prevention remains a long-term challenge for Scotland. Clearly, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and life circumstances are likely to be felt widely and over the long term. In working to reduce loss of life to suicide we also recognise the continuing risks presented by inequalities and that we must address these across the full range of our work.
This report highlights our work to support delivery of Scotland's Suicide Prevention Action Plan over the last year, and outlines some of the work planned in its final year ahead.
Our commitment to our work remains as strong as ever, as does our conviction that everyone can have a role to play in preventing suicide and that we can all help to save lives.
Because every life matters.
Rose Fitzpatrick CBE QPM
Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group
Councillor Stuart Currie
COSLA Spokesperson for Health and Social Care
Kevin Stewart MSP
Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care
We welcome this third annual report, which clearly shows the success of the strong partnership working between the members of the NSPLG, the Lived Experience Panel, the Academic Advisory Group, Scottish Government, COSLA and local suicide prevention leads. We all have a role to play in preventing suicide and it is through collaboration to deliver on the commitments that we can have the biggest impact. There is no doubt the challenges placed on individuals and communities over the last 18 months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been significant. The impact on mental health is well documented and will likely continue for many years to come, we are therefore encouraged to see the progress made on delivering the actions aimed at reducing suicide within Every Life Matters despite the restrictions which have been in place.
We want to see a reduction in those dying by suicide and believe that action in local communities involving community planning partners is the best way to deliver this. The guidance launched this year will ensure that local action plans are developed in partnership to meet local needs, and the implementation of these plans will ensure the greatest impact across Scotland.
The continued campaigning through United to Prevent Suicide supports the call to action and allows for everyone to make suicide prevention their business. The huge reach on social media of the @_FCUnited campaign demonstrated the desire for the people of Scotland to do what they can to support those in need.
Each life lost to suicide has a devastating impact on those affected and we are therefore pleased to see the launch of the pilot bereavement support service across NHS Ayrshire & Arran and NHS Highland. This will not only provide much needed support to those affected but will help determine how this support should be delivered across Scotland in the future.
These and the other areas of work described within this report provide a strong basis for the continuation of Every Life Matters over the next year and will support the commitment of both Scottish Government and COSLA to the development of the next suicide prevention strategy.