Scottish Government debate on Suicide Prevention: SAMH Comment

21st November 2017

Today the Scottish Government is debating suicide prevention in Scotland. 

Two people die by suicide every day in Scotland. That’s 728 deaths in the last year. For the first time in six years the number of people dying by suicide has risen. SAMH want to see immediate action, it has to change.

SAMH is concerned that the latest Suicide Prevention Strategy for Scotland expired at the end of 2016. It is crucial that the Scottish Government consult and bring forward plans for a new national suicide prevention strategy. 

SAMH wants to see:

  • The publication of the overdue Suicide Prevention Strategy for Scotland.
  • A full public consultation to inform the development of the next suicide prevention strategy. 

As part of the next strategy, SAMH is calling for:

  • A national Scottish Crisis Care Agreement to be developed and enacted across the statutory, emergency and non-statutory sectors, with all local Health and Social Care Partnerships developing and implementing local delivery plans by 2018.
  • Allied Health Professionals to be provided with suicide intervention training, both as part of core training and continual professional development.
  • Transparency in funding for suicide prevention with local authorities publishing clear reports on their use of suicide prevention funding.
  • Integrated Joint Boards to commission evidence-based, gender sensitive services, including peer support and activity based services, to tackle health inequalities impacting men and suicide. These should be targeted in in areas of deprivation.
  • National roll out of Community Triage following the successful pilot in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
  • The roll out of learning from the award-winning Choose Life North East suicide prevention app and website. 

SAMH Chief Executive Billy Watson said:

“Every day at SAMH we are working to prevent suicide and to support those affected. However more needs to be done.

“We would urge the Scottish Government to bring forward the Suicide Prevention Strategy. It needs to be ambitious and has to deliver on its promises.  

“Public awareness and community services are crucial to tackling suicide rates. We need to ensure that support isn’t reduced at a time when suicide rates are rising and local services are experiencing cuts.”

Samaritans is a 24-hour helpline offering emotional support for anyone feeling down, distressed or struggling to cope. Call them on 116 123 or email: