National programme for suicide prevention

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) has launched a new national programme to prevent suicide and support those affected by it.

In Scotland, suicide kills around two people per day. Every attempted or completed suicide affects dozens more family members, friends, work colleagues and communities, who are often left without the support they need to cope with their experiences.

SAMH has been working with people affected by suicide since 2004 when it first produced ‘After a Suicide’, an information guide which has been well received and used across Scotland.

The guide has been reprinted several times, funded by the groundbreaking Scottish Government-backed suicide prevention strategy, Choose Life. The reaction to ‘After a Suicide’ and the frequent donations that SAMH receives from people bereaved through suicide led SAMH to consider how it could do more in this area beyond continuing to value its role as a partner in Choose Life.

Now the charity is launching a new National Programme for Suicide Prevention which will focus on mental health improvement as a way to reduce suicide and will have five elements including training, campaigning and awareness, access to services, active intervention, information and resources.

Billy Watson, SAMH’s Chief Executive, said: “SAMH has worked in mental health for almost ninety years so it was natural for us to focus on using mental health improvement to reduce suicide.

“We want our national programme to be there for people across Scotland, both in helping to prevent the devastation caused by suicide and in supporting families who have lost someone.”