Following research and engagement work undertaken by Samaritans Scotland, the Scottish Government has committed to a strategy and action plan to improve support for people who self-harm.
Following our 2020 research report, Hidden Too Long: uncovering self-harm in Scotland, and a series of engagement events with stakeholder across sectors and people with lived experience, the Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care has announced the Scottish Government's commitment to a self-harm strategy.
The Minister, Kevin Stewart, told BBC Scotland "We need to go further and I think it is only right that we look at a self-harm strategy and action plan as we have done with suicide prevention".
Our Executive Director, Rachel Cackett, welcomed the commitment:
"We are delighted by this commitment to a new, dedicated national strategy to increase understanding of self-harm, improve support for people affected and reduce the underlying causes.
"Over the last two years, Samaritans Scotland has been working with people who have direct lived experience of self-harm and with those on the frontline, across health, emergency, youth and education, and third sector settings, to understand what needs to change.
A message we heard loud and clear across these conversations was that, while self-harm is something that affects so many of us, our families and our communities, it was an issue that has been hidden for far too long. Today’s announcement is a vital first step to changing that.
Rachel Cackett, Executive Director
"We also heard clearly that self-harm requires a dedicated national approach, one that is grounded in understanding self-harm as a response to distress, committed to supporting safe and open discussion, and shaped by the voices of people with lived experience. We are delighted to continue our work with the Scottish Government and partners to develop this strategy in the months and years ahead and ensure that whenever someone reaches out and takes the important step to ask, the right help is there whenever and wherever it is needed."