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Suicides in Scotland rise by 15%

26 Jun 2019

Scotland’s suicide rate has increased by 15 per cent in the last 12 months, with more than two people a day now taking their own lives.

Figures published today confirmed there were 784 recorded suicides in Scotland, the highest since 2013.

That compares to 680 last year, and means an SNP pledge to reduce suicides by 2022 is considerably off target.

The rate of young people taking their own lives is now at a 10-year high, with 15.1 in every 100,000 people aged 15 to 24 dying by suicide.

Men remain significantly more at risk, accounting for 581 of last year’s incidents.

The SNP government finally published a suicide strategy in August last year, with the previous one having expired in 2016.

It means Scotland was without an action plan for 18 months, and the new target of reducing suicides by a fifth by 2022 seems increasingly unlikely.

Ministers have also been under constant criticism over a lack of counselling services, and consistently missed waiting times targets for treating people with mental health issues.

In the last year alone, more than 100,000 people waited longer than 18 weeks to begin psychological therapy.

Among children the delays are even worse, with more than a quarter being forced to wait beyond the stated timeframe.

Scottish Conservative mental health spokeswoman Annie Wells said:

“The Scottish Government may have spent more time talking about mental health in recent years, but these figures show that hasn’t been matched by action.

“We’ve gone backwards, and the hundreds of who took their own lives last year are a tragic testament to that.

“People with mental health problems are being forced to wait far too long for help, particularly young patients, and the consequence of this is now there for all to see.

“The SNP government has had sole control over mental health services for 12 years, and has to take full responsibility for failing to address this issue.

“It failed abjectly to sort out a suicide strategy – more proof that this is a government which simply doesn’t match its words with actions.”