SAMH calls for action ahead of suicide prevention debate

15th September 2020

Last week Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) was an opportunity for us all to get talking about mental health. Today an MSP debate will take place to mark the recent date and seeks to address what we must do now to save lives. 

SAMH is calling for change. Find out more about what needs to be done to improve Scotland’s mental health: 

At SAMH suicide prevention is at the centre of everything that we do, and we are clear that this can begin with something as simple as having a conversation.

This is why we’re proud to be supporting United To Prevent Suicide, Scotland’s new approach to suicide prevention which aims to give people the tools that they need to talk about mental health openly. We can and we must work together to save lives, click the button below to get involved: 

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Coronavirus and mental health 

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the ways in which we have all lived our lives and now more than ever people need the right support. SAMH is concerned that the ongoing pandemic could lead to increased risk of suicide, to address this we are calling on the Scottish Government to: 

  • Work with local authorities and take action to meet the steps set out in the NSPLG (National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group) covid-19 statement [1]

  • Release the latest suicide statistics, accurate data is crucial to building effective prevention interventions

  • Work with those affected by suicide and any other relevant groups to lay out long term plans for prevention

Suicide prevention training 

It is vital that people within communities across Scotland feel confident to help someone at risk of suicide. Effective evidence based suicide prevention training can save lives. SAMH is calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that this vital training is available long term.  

Crisis support

We believe that more needs to be done to ensure people can access the right support when in distress. Good progress has been made in this area with the national roll out of the Distress Brief Intervention (DBI) service, which SAMH campaigned for and now are part of delivering. Additionally, SAMH call for: 

  • The roll out of Community Triage which provides police officers with direct access to mental health professionals and has been proven to reduce distress 

  • Ensure full implementation of the Scottish Crisis Care Agreement, which is a commitment in the Suicide Prevention Action Plan

At risk groups

Suicide can affect everyone but we know certain groups are at greater risk, including LGBT+ people, men in their middle years and people experiencing poverty. [2], [3] That is why SAMH has funded research to learn more about risk factors affecting middle-aged men. More needs to be done, we are calling for: 

  • The delivery of services in all local areas to meet the needs of ‘at risk’ groups  

  • A continued focus on ‘at risk’ groups as part of the work of the NSPLG

For more information, please contact 

​​​​​​[1] NSPLG, National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group: COVID-19 statement, 2020

[2] Stonewall, LGBT in Britain: Health Report, 2018

[3] ScotPHO, Suicide: key points, 2019