SAMH comment on 2020 decrease in deaths by suicide

17th August 2021

New figures published today (Tuesday 17 August 2021) by the National Records of Scotland show that there were 805 probable suicides in 2020. This is a decrease from 833 in 2019.

Full details can be found here.

Jo Anderson, Director of Influence and Change at SAMH said:

“It’s devastating to hear that 805 people died by suicide in Scotland last year. Each one of these deaths represents a life that ended too early, and it’s important that we take a moment to reflect and remember.

“Suicide is a complex issue, and while it is encouraging to see a decrease in the number of deaths by suicide compared to last year, today’s figures highlight just how important it is to support those at risk.  We must learn what we can to help inform and direct our future work and as we collectively focus on recovery from the pandemic, we must ensure that mental health and, crucially, suicide prevention are at the heart of that.  

“As a proud partner in the national approach to suicide prevention, SAMH is already doing this in a number of ways. This includes investing in research into the causes and risk factors around suicide, and providing a quick and effective response to crisis through the Distress Brief Intervention programme.

“Now more than ever, we need to encourage people to talk about suicide, to feel able to ask for help, and to feel confident to give help when it is needed; which is why we provide suicide prevention training and knowledge building within communities, helping to increase confidence and competence. Our ‘how to ask’ resource can also be a useful starting point for some of these conversations.”