The Scottish Government believes people who have lost loved ones to suicide can help shape plans to reduce it
A nationwide training programme which aims to reduce the amount of suicides in Scotland is set to be created.
A new Suicide Prevention Action Plan has been drafted by the Scottish Government.
The views of those who have been directly affected by suicide are being sought as part of the creation of the plan.
The initiative has been created in a bid to reduce the amount of people who take their own lives in Scotland, with 728 suicides recorded in 2016.
The plan proposes using social media to provide information and support, use the experiences of those who have lost a loved one, and develop stronger partnerships between public, private and third sector organisations.
Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt said that everyone in the country has a role to play in preventing suicide.
“While the suicide rate in Scotland has fallen over the past decade, I want us to go further to prevent deaths,” she said. “It is vital we hear the views of people affected by suicide and those delivering support as we shape our action plan.”
James Jopling, executive director of Samaritans in Scotland, said that the devastation that suicide causes has to be reduced.
He said: “Last year 728 people died by suicide in Scotland and it remains the leading cause of death for men under 50 across the UK. As such, the impact that suicide has across our communities is huge.
“We urge people across Scotland to get involved and help shape the Scottish Government’s suicide prevention plans. Suicide is preventable and we must be bold to reduce the devastation this causes for so many.”
Shirley Windsor, from NHS Health Scotland, said that health bosses wanted to hear the experiences of those who have lost loved ones.
“Every death by suicide is a tragedy with life-changing impact on families and communities,” she said. “We must do everything we can to prevent it. This includes developing more responsive services and listening to people with lived experience. The draft proposals out today give us an opportunity to do this.”