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Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

NHS Health Scotland has welcomed the publication today of the Scottish Government’s new suicide prevention action plan. The plan builds on previous key areas of work to raise awareness of suicide and respond to people in distress. Importantly, it focuses on the need to apply evidence-informed guidance and continuously share knowledge of what works (and what doesn’t). This takes account of learning gained from partnership working, including people with lived experience. 

To implement the action plan effectively, we believe it needs continued national leadership support to co-ordinate the delivery of efforts and both national and local level, and encourage effective partnerships.

Shirley Windsor, Organisation Lead for Public Mental Health, said:

 “It’s welcome that the new action plan clearly recognises that suicide prevention goes beyond the NHS through the requirement of a new national leadership group to provide advice to COSLA as well as the Scottish Government. Tackling suicide needs a range of approaches from different agencies and sectors, but the Scottish Government will need strong support at a national level to enable collaborative working. This will require sufficient resources and robust performance management arrangements.

“We know that suicide prevention is indirectly related to a range of things that help us to live in good health, including education, family income, our communities and childhood experiences. We shall advocate for a clearer focus in building resilience and good mental health as part of the prevention activities, as well as supporting those who are already in contact with mental health services and the significant minority who are not. Understanding the reasons why people contemplate suicide will help us better tailor appropriate national and local responses to their needs.

“We look forward to working with Scottish Government and other key stakeholders in shaping the delivery plan and helping its subsequent implementation. Our continued priorities include a focus on inequalities issues in relation to suicide, promoting collaborative actions with wider stakeholders, especially as part of community plans and local authority interests, and sharing knowledge across Scotland and internationally.”

Suicide is a significant public health issue in Scotland. For more information on suicide, visit our suicide webpages.