1.2 mb - JPG
Our autumn 2021 update showcases what the Samaritans Scotland team and our volunteers have been up to over the last three months to help ensure fewer people die by suicide in Scotland.
What have we been up to in autumn 2021?
Musselburgh Wellbeing Tournament with Breathing Space
In September, the Samaritans Scotland team joined volunteers from our Edinburgh branch and sector colleagues from Breathing Space to support the Musselburgh Golf Club Wellbeing Tournament, where the club became Scotland’s first mentally healthy golf club. Our volunteers and staff team chatted to club members and visitors about the work of Samaritans across the Lothians and raised awareness of our core services.
Small Talk Saves Lives
In August, we launched our annual Small Talk Saves Lives campaign in partnership with Network Rail and British Transport Police. The campaign hopes to encourage passengers on the rail to trust their instincts and strike up a conversation if something doesn’t feel right. From asking about the weather to complimenting someone’s shoes, it only takes a few words to interrupt someone’s suicidal thoughts and help connect them to the support they need.
You can read more about Small Talk Saves Lives including a series of stories from members of the public on our website.
30th anniversary of prisoner listening scheme
October marked 30 years of Samaritans’ Listener Scheme in Scottish Prisons. The peer-support scheme trains prisoners to provide confidential emotional support to their peers who are struggling to cope or feeling suicidal.
To mark the occasion, the CEO of Scottish Prisons co-signed a letter to our volunteers in Scotland thanking them for their support in delivering the scheme and the support they have provided to prisoners via our 116 123 helpline. The Samaritans Scotland team also visited the Governor and staff and HMP Edinburgh to meet with prisoners supporting the Listener Scheme.
Scottish Government commits to self-harm strategy
Following Samaritans recent work on self-harm, in October the Minister for Mental Wellbeing, Kevin Stewart, announced a dedicated self-harm strategy and action plan for Scotland.
Samaritans has been working to improve understanding of self-harm since commencing research on our initial report, Hidden Too Long: uncovering self-harm in Scotland, through to our more recent engagement events with stakeholders across sectors. Our volunteers tell us that self-harm affects many of our callers, and our engagement with people with lived experience has told us that self-harm is a serious and complex public health issue.
We look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government to deliver the strategy and thank all Samaritans who have helped shape our work on self-harm so far.
You can read more about work on self-harm, including research and engagement insights, on our website.
Suicidal crisis support recommendations
In October, the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) published a set of recommendations for responding to suicidal crisis. Our Executive Director, Rachel Cackett, co-sponsored the work to create the recommendations that have now been accepted by Scottish Government and will be embedded across crisis support services in Scotland. The approach to suicidal crisis endorsed by Samaritans Scotland and colleagues in the recommendations is based on three key principles of Time, Space and Compassion.
The Scottish Government also committed to creating a Suicidal Crisis Support Action Group to implement the approach.