Charities welcome new suicide prevention plan shaped by lived experience

Section: Health and Social Care IntegrationType: News Item Date Published: 9th August 2018
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The ALLIANCE and Samaritans Scotland have welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government’s new Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

Leading charities have welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government’s new Suicide Prevention Action Plan (this link will take you away from our website), following figures released in June which showed that 680 people took their own life in Scotland in 2017.

The plan aims to reduce deaths by suicide in Scotland and ensure that support before, during and after a crisis is available.

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. Participants in pre-consultation events, who each had direct experience of suicide, recommended that support for those in crisis and those bereaved by suicide should be improved across Scotland.

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 Scottish Government’s new Suicide Prevention Action Plan. The Scottish Government has announced that a £3 million fund will support the plan and a new 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, Grants and Impact Officer at the ALLIANCE, has herself experienced suicidal thoughts and an attempt to take her own life.

Emma Goodlad 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 firstly need to thank everyone with direct experience of suicide who contributed to the development of this plan. It is through your bravery and determination that we now have a vital opportunity to ensure that no one affected by suicide in Scotland is alone.”

“We know the huge scale of that challenge however and the responsibility for delivering that ambition rests overwhelmingly with the leadership group. While welcome the formation of this group and the funding that will be available, with actions so dependent on the group to deliver, it is too early to tell whether this plan will produce the much hoped for changes we need. With the level of responsibility given to the group, it is even more vital that the Chair and the Mental Health Minister provide strong leadership and direction.”

Chief Executive of the ALLIANCE, Prof Ian Welsh OBE said “People affected by suicide have told us the tragedy, devastation and human impact it has upon their lives. We often hear from families and friends of people who have completed and attempted suicide that support, services and public attitudes have a significant effect on them during a distressing time.”

“The Scottish Government’s Action Plan offers an opportunity to coordinate effective support and services, create more training opportunities for people working across Scotland in suicide prevention strategies and raise public awareness. We are also pleased to note the emphasis placed on the role of people with lived experience of suicide within the action plan. These are all crucial steps in working together to identify and support the people most at risk of suicide and those closest to them.”

  • 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 or visit (this link will take you away from our website) to find details of your nearest branch.
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