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Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Today we joined the Minister for Mental Health at the launch of a new set of mental health and suicide prevention learning resources. NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) were jointly commissioned to develop these as part of the Scottish Government’s ‘Suicide Prevention Action Plan’.

Mental health involves our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It is shaped by our life circumstances, our relationships and the ability to control or adapt to the circumstances we face. We know that those who live in areas where many people have worries about money and employment, with poor living conditions, are five times more likely to experience poor mental health and are three times more at risk of taking their own life, compared to those living in areas where people have fewer of these worries.

The mental health and suicide prevention resources launched today give practical advice to staff in all sectors – including NHS and local authority employees – on how to support people who may be feeling suicidal or experiencing mental distress.

George Dodds, Director of Health Equity at NHS Health Scotland, and member of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership group, said:

“On average two people die by suicide every day in Scotland. That is tragic and preventable. We also know that one in three people who take their own life have had no contact with any specialist services before they die. We need to change that dramatically.

“That’s why NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland worked together to develop these resources, to help the Scottish workforce improve mental health and prevent suicide. The online animations created aim to raise awareness of the issues that affect people and that can lead those in distress to sometimes think about taking their own life. They’re also designed to increase the confidence of healthcare staff to respond compassionately and effectively to support anyone in that situation.

“We hope the animations will help staff from other sectors have the confidence to hold compassionate conversations with those they meet, so that they can get help to those most vulnerable at the time it’s needed.”

There are 3 animations in total:  


Ask, tell, save a life: every life matters animation.

Ask, tell, have a healthy conversation animation.

Ask, tell, look after your mental health.


To find out more visit the Mental Health and Well being and Suicide Prevention sections of our website.