New funding ‘vital first step’ towards improving suicide prevention in Scotland, says Samaritans Scotland
Samaritans in Scotland has welcomed the announcement today of significant new funding for suicide prevention in Scotland. Prior to a debate on mental health this afternoon, the Scottish Government has announced a £3 million innovation fund to support a new suicide prevention leadership group.
The Scottish Government is due to publish their new Suicide Prevention Action Plan at the end of this month. Previously they had not indicated what funding would be available to support the plan or group. The £3m amount is equivalent to the funding provided for suicide prevention in England, where £25 million has been made available over five years.
This announcement follows a Scottish Parliament inquiry into the Scottish Government’s draft Suicide Prevention Action Plan yesterday, where MSPs heard that Scotland was lagging behind other UK nations in some areas. There were also calls from witnesses, including Samaritans in Scotland, for new resources for suicide prevention in Scotland.
728 people took their own lives in Scotland in 2016. It is a leading cause of death for young people, killing more people under the age of 29 in Scotland than all cancers combined.*
Samaritans’ Executive Director for Scotland, James Jopling, said: “We have heard that the Scottish Government’s new suicide prevention action plan aims to create a step change in suicide prevention in Scotland. While we welcome that, we have been clear that we could not achieve real change without funding. It is therefore very encouraging that the new action plan will have resources behind it.
“This commitment is also a sign that the proposed leadership group will have meaningful resources and ability to shape and drive national and local initiatives.
“We believe that Scotland can return to being a world-leader in suicide prevention if we have the resource and ambition to achieve that. While we need to see the detail of the Scottish Government’s plans, we are hopeful that today’s announcement is a vital first step towards a Scotland where no one affected by suicide is alone.”
Notes to editors:
- The official report from the Scottish Parliament inquiry into suicide prevention can be found here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/report.aspx?r=11597&mode=pdf
- Implementing the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health sets out funding for suicide prevention England of £25 million.
- Anyone can contact Samaritans for FREE any time from any phone on 116 123. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.