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Scottish Government “not treating suicide as a priority”

This news post is about 6 years old

The Samaritans has published new research which it says shows the need for urgent action to prevent suicide

The Scottish Government has been accused of not treating suicide prevention as a top priority.

A charity has said that a rise in suicides shows the need for the issue to be treated with greater urgency.

The Samaritans carried out a poll which showed that 89% of respondents would support suicide prevention training for professionals.

In the research – which quizzed more than 1,000 people in Scotland – it was shown that 61% of Scots have some experience of suicide and 29% have supported a close friend or family member through feelings of suicide, or lost a close friend or family member to suicide.

Almost 40% of those questioned said that they would not know what to do if they were supporting someone in crisis.

An 8% rise in probable suicides was reported in Scotland in 2016, with 728 deaths reported.

The Scottish Government is preparing a suicide action plan, however the proposals have drawn criticism from the Samaritans who have described the action proposed as tentative.

Samaritans executive director for Scotland James Jopling said: "This poll shows this issue may not be taken as seriously as it should be; that it's not an issue we are seeing embedded in thejfustice department, in education and how we support young people.

"In other functions of government we are not seeing the reflection of this issue. Our feeling is, it's not being seen on the levels it should be.”

Jopling called on mental health minister Maureen Watt to champion the charity’s efforts to prevent suicide.

Watt responded: "We are investing more and more money in mental health every year.

"The past year (2017/18) we saw for the first time £1 billion invested in mental health and now we've got an extra £150 million on top of that for this next year.

"Mental health and suicide prevention is a very important part of the Scottish Government's actions going forward."