“I’m hopeful that the tide is changing”

Written by: Emma Goodlad, Fund Manager, the ALLIANCE

Published: 12/09/2018

Emma shares her reflections on the progress that is being made in relation to Suicide Prevention in Scotland.

10 September is World Suicide Prevention day. A day each year that now holds a different significance to me since I tried to take my own life in 2016.

I am now at a good place in my recovery and in the past year have been working to find avenues where I can make a difference to the landscape in Scotland for those living with mental health issues. I wrote a blog last year, prior to the Scottish Government beginning consultation on the now published Suicide Prevention Action Plan (this link will take you away from our website) about the importance of fully involving people in the design and delivery of the strategy.

I’m pleased to see that the Action Plan is forward thinking and clearly shows that they have heard, but more importantly listened to, the voice of lived experience and that this is embedded throughout the strategy. I think importantly though; the Scottish Government must not now rest on their laurels and must strive to push the boundaries and overcome the challenges that face them to create a non-judgemental and supportive environment in Scotland for those affected by suicide and suicidal thoughts.

I’m pleased to see the creation of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, but I would have liked to see more focus on the representation of the voice of lived experience in this group. If the Scottish Government want to deliver on the plan they must involve several people with a variety of lived experience, to ensure that the group is representative of all those who it affects, and not fall into the age-old way of having one person with lived experience as a lone voice in a group of professionals and policy makers.

I cannot say at this time that if I were to have another mental health crisis, that I would receive any better treatment than I did in 2016. My family, friends and I were left muddling through an incredibly difficult situation without the right support to fully address the issues at hand and without the right support to process the trauma of my attempt to take my life.

I am hopeful that the tide is changing, I’ve heard stories recently of people asking for support in a time of crisis and receiving the right support, right away, not being sent away or left on waiting lists for months on end. I believe that this is as a direct result of the implementation of the new mental health strategy (this link will take you away from our website) published last year, and the funding behind it to provide more mental health nurses who have the capacity to provide swift, appropriate support to people in crisis.

This shows me that with the right support and appropriate investment, the Scottish Government can deliver what they say they will and the future of mental health support in Scotland is looking a little brighter for us.

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