Samaritans Scotland has responded to today’s release of data from National Records of Scotland in its annual update on suicide statistics for 2022.
- 762 deaths by suicide were recorded in 2022 – an increase of nine from 2021.
- People living in Scotland’s most deprived areas are 2.6 times more likely to die by suicide than those living in the least deprived areas.
- At council level, the rate was higher than the Scottish average in Highland, Dundee City, East Ayrshire and Perth and Kinross.
- Female deaths increased by 18 - however a decrease of 42 was recorded in 2021.
- Although the number of probable suicides increased for females, men are still 2.9 times more likely to die by suicide in Scotland.
Neil Mathers, Executive Director of Samaritans Scotland, said: “Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy and 762 deaths reaffirms the importance of suicide prevention work in Scotland.
“Today’s figures show that it is imperative that we continue to take action on the range of factors that may contribute to suicide risk.
“Those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than those in more affluent areas. 
“Samaritans research has previously shown the importance of suicide prevention work with middle aged men. Today’s data reinforces the need to prioritise support for middle aged people and highlights the need for women in middle age and older to receive the help they need.
“While there has been an increase overall in the number of female deaths, men continue to account for most deaths, and are still 2.9 times more likely to die by suicide in Scotland.
“We know that suicide is complex and there is rarely a single reason why someone may decide to take their own life.
“As a lead partner in Suicide Prevention Scotland – a new initiative in delivering Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2022-25 – we will encourage a whole society approach to address the social determinants with the greatest link to suicide risk. We will also consider ‘access to means’, examining locations of concern across the country.
“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and other partners on this ambitious strategy to reduce deaths by suicide in Scotland.”
Notes to Editors
- Those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas are 2.6 times more likely to die by suicide than those living in the least deprived areas. This number has fallen when compared to last year because the rate in the least deprived areas increased more than the rate in the most. However, both rates have increased a small amount.
- Samaritans’ research into the impacts of inequality on suicide is available here
- Please also consider our Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide in any coverage of these figures. Responsible media coverage can play a significant role in supporting good mental health by raising awareness of valuable sources of support and encouraging people to reach out for help. Alarmist reports can have the effect of normalising or exaggerating the prevalence of suicide. This is likely to increase people’s anxiety and sense of hopelessness and could normalise suicidal behaviour.
- Please apply caution when quoting statistics and be aware that suicide rates in a single year may deviate from an overall trend. It is best to look at timeframes of three or more years to identify significant patterns.
- Remind people that suicide is preventable by encouraging help-seeking and including sources of support, such as Samaritans. Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans free any time on 116 123 or email: [email protected]
- Suicide Prevention Scotland’s analysis of the data can be found here - Suicide Prevention Scotland responds to 2022 deaths by suicide data | by Suicide Prevention Scotland | Sep, 2023 | Medium