Foundation responds to Scottish government suicide prevention consultation

3 May 2018

The Mental Health Foundation Scotland welcomes the opportunity to respond to the draft Suicide Prevention Action Plan consultation. 

Prevention is at the heart of all the Foundation's work because we believe that the best way to deal with a crisis is to stop it from happening in the first place. Suicide can be prevented – but with two people dying by suicide every day in Scotland on average, it is vital that more work is done to get people the help that they need before they are at crisis point.

The draft Suicide Prevention Action Plan represents an opportunity for Scotland to become a world leader again in suicide prevention, as it was during early years of Choose Life. 

That's why in our consultation response, we are calling for radical redesign of suicide prevention services, strong national leadership and a real commitment to tackle the social inequalities.

Here are some of the key points from our consultation response: 

  • A new national body to drive forward suicide prevention work in Scotland providing new impetus and leadership.
  • A 'Knowledge into Action Group' should be established, made up of a wide range of group members with different experience, in order to improve the use of evidence, data and guidance on suicide prevention. The evidence and data collected by the group should be used to produce practical outputs and directly influence suicide prevention strategies.
  • A new dedicated support service for families bereaved by suicide.
  • Research into why Scotland continues to have a higher suicide rate than other parts of the UK should also be explored.
  • A 'whole-community' approach needs to be taken for suicide prevention. Whilst mental health services have a vital part to play, Scotland's schools, work places, community and public services all need to strive to help create a mentally healthy Scotland.
  • Compulsory suicide prevention training should be mandatory for key frontline staff such as health professionals and job centre staff.
  • Increased early intervention is needed for people experiencing mental distress.
  • The stigma around mental health distress and suicide must be challenged across the board. Services should treat anyone experiencing mental distress with respect and equality.
  • The Scottish Government should commit to tackling the social inequalities that often form the root causes of suicide must be addressed.

This consultation response was submitted in conjunction with our 12-point plan published in September for World Suicide Prevention Day.

Download our response