A local politician has welcomed the announcement of the Scottish Government’s suicide prevention plan.
Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South described that plan as ambitious and that it will save lives.
Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan, announced by Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey MSP, sets out ten measures to continue the strong decline in the country’s rate of deaths by suicide. The plan was developed following extensive engagement with mental health and suicide prevention organisations, people affected by suicide, and academics.
To implement the plan, the Scottish Government will set up a National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) by September 2018 and support it with a new £3 million innovation fund with former Deputy Chief Constable Rose Fitzpatrick will chair the group.
Actions in the plan include:
- Creating and implementing refreshed mental health and suicide prevention training by May 2019 for Scotland’s public and private sectors. The plan requires all NHS staff to receive training
- Developing reviews of all deaths by suicide and ensuring lessons are shared with partners and acted on
- Developing innovative ways to use digital technology to prevent suicide
- The government, NSPLG and partners co-ordinating public awareness campaigns
Mhairi Black, said: “This new prevention plan is ambitious and sets out to improve on the good work that has already been done to make suicide preventable in Scotland and save lives.
“It is vital that the Scottish Government listen to voices from across the sector and work with organizations to identify and support people who may be feeling suicidal. We want to achieve a Renfrewshire where suicide is avoided and we want families to have the support they deserve in what can be the most traumatic experience of their life.
Scottish Association for Mental Health chief executive Billy Watson, said: “We welcome Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Action, which shows ambition and commitment to making suicide prevention a national priority. We have been encouraged by the decrease in the number of deaths by suicide in recent years, however we cannot become complacent. When someone dies by suicide, it has an impact like no other.
“We are pleased to see a number of SAMH calls have been agreed and included in the action plan, particularly a national target of 20% reduction of suicides by 2022. We look forward to playing a leading role in implementing this new action plan.”
Lee Knifton, head of Mental Health Foundation Scotland, added: “We have campaigned vigorously for the creation of a new national body to drive forward suicide prevention work. We are pleased to see it at the heart of the new action plan. The new leadership group can help instil new drive and ambition in tackling suicide in Scotland. We’re equally pleased our calls for mandatory training for NHS and social security staff, and trauma-informed support for bereaved families are in the plan.
“These commitments must now be turned into action. No society should tolerate the suffering and despair that leads a person to take their own life. Now is the time to make Scotland a world-leader in suicide prevention.”
Photo Credit: Ulrike Mai