Samaritans Scotland calls for urgent action as new data shows rise in suicide deaths in 2019.
Samaritans Scotland, the leading charity for suicide prevention and crisis support in the country, is calling for urgent action after new data, published today, showed deaths by suicide increased by 6% in 2019 compared to the previous year.
In 2019, 833 deaths by suicide were registered in Scotland, an increase from 784 in 2018. Of these deaths, 620 were among men, and 213 were among women. The overall suicide rate across Scotland increased to 15.5 deaths per 100,000 in 2019, compared to 14.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2018. This is the highest rate since 2013.
While suicide rates for both men and women peak among those aged 45-54, the rate among young people aged 15-24 increased for the second consecutive year.
Samaritans Scotland, who provide free, 24/7 emotional support to anyone in crisis and distress, said the figures were a powerful reminder of the urgent need to maintain momentum in national and local work to improve suicide prevention support for those in crisis.
Rachel Cackett, Executive Director of Samaritans Scotland, said: “Every single one of the 833 deaths by suicide in 2019 represents a devastating loss with far-reaching consequences for family, friends and communities.
It’s particularly concerning to see rates of suicide increase for almost all age groups and for rates among young people under 25 continue to rise this year. And, as in previous years, people living in the most deprived communities in Scotland continue to be around three times more likely to take their own life, compared to those living in the wealthiest communities.
The National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group has re-doubled its efforts to strengthen suicide prevention, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but it is clear there is still so much more to do. The current Suicide Prevention Action Plan will conclude in 2021 and the Scottish Government and COSLA have already committed to developing a new strategy. Building on work to date, this new strategy must practically address improvements in support for people experiencing suicidal crisis as well as the underlying causes and inequities of suicide in communities across Scotland.
It is important to recognise that today’s data only covers 2019 and it is still too early to know what the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be on mental health and wellbeing. But by taking action, here and now, to renew and redouble their commitment to suicide prevention, government and services can help to reduce future risk.”
Over the last five years in Scotland, 3,697 people took their own life. The average suicide rate for the last five years was 13.9 deaths per 100,000.
Notes to Editors
- Research shows that responsible reporting of suicide can reduce risk to vulnerable people. Please refer to Samaritans’ media guidelines when reporting on this data. Read our media guidelines.
- Figures from Suicide Deaths Registered in Scotland: Scotland overview 2019 and Suicide: Deprivation overview 2019, from the Scottish Public Health Observatory
- If you’re struggling to cope we have information to support you. We also have support and information if you are worried about someone else who may be having suicidal thoughts.
Anyone can contact Samaritans for free in confidence any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit, and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or email [email protected] or go to www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch where you can talk to one of their trained volunteers face to face.