Samaritans Scotland welcomes new Suicide Prevention Action Plan shaped by lived experience
Samaritans Scotland has today welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government’s new Suicide Prevention Action Plan, following figures released in June that showed 680 people took their own life in Scotland in 2017.
The new plan aims to reduce the suicide rate in Scotland by 20% by 2022 and ensure that support before, during and after a crisis is available for all those affected.
Central to the creation of this plan were recommendations for change from people who had supported someone, lost someone or experienced suicidal thoughts or attempts themselves. People, who had direct experience of suicide, recommended that support for those in crisis and those bereaved by suicide should be improved across Scotland. They also called for mandatory suicide prevention training for certain professions such as those who work in the NHS. The new plan seeks to address all of these.
The release of the plan follows a Scottish Parliamentary Committee inquiry, where MSPs heard that Scotland was lagging behind other UK nations on suicide prevention. There were also calls from witnesses, including Samaritans Scotland, for dedicated funding to be attached to the action plan. The Scottish Government subsequently announced that a £3 million fund will support the plan and a National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group.
Suicide is a leading cause of death for young people, killing more people under the age of 29 in Scotland than all cancers combined. Last year, suicide in young men in Scotland increased for the third consecutive year.
Emma Goodlad has herself experienced suicidal thoughts and an attempt to take her own life.
Emma said: “I’m really pleased to see the Scottish Government taking this step to address the need for a new approach and support for those affected by suicide. It is exciting to see that the Scottish Government have taken on board the thoughts and ideas of those with first-hand experience of bereavement by suicide and suicidal thoughts and attempts.
“The Government need to continue to be bold and forward thinking in the way they approach the support and services that are needed desperately by those in crisis, to save their lives, as well as supporting those bereaved by suicide. I look forward to the next steps in this process and continue to be hopeful that outcomes will be improved for all of those in need.”
Samaritans’ Executive Director for Scotland, James Jopling, said: “We would like to thank all those directly affected by suicide who contributed to the development of this plan. It is through their bravery and determination that we now have a new action plan prioritising that no one affected by suicide in Scotland is alone.”
“This plan represents a much needed renewed ambition to prevent suicides in Scotland. Achieving the target set by 2022 would mean saving nearly 140 lives a year in Scotland. That ambition has to be what drives us to better support those at risk and target our efforts to those who most need us. This new plan, with the right leadership and resources in place, gives us hope that we can do this together.”
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Notes to editors:
• National Records of Scotland: Probable suicides: https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-...
• Prior to the consultation on the draft action plan, the Health and Social Care Academy (a programme of the ALLIANCE), Samaritans Scotland and NHS Health Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government, led on work to gather views from people affected by suicide across Scotland on what could be done better or differently. The full report can be found here: https://www.samaritans.org/sites/default/files/kcfinder/files/SPR%20fina...
• 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.
The Scottish Government's Suicide Prevention Action Plan can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/08/8874