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500 days with no suicide strategy

May 15, 2018 1:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today marked 500 days since the Scottish Government allowed their suicide prevention strategy to lapse and called on ministers to apologise to the hundreds of families whose relatives have committed suicide since the strategy expired.

The previous suicide prevention strategy expired on 31st December 2016 and has yet to be replaced.

A draft strategy was recently published, but Samaritans described its contents as "very disappointing".

Over the course of Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May), Scottish Liberal Democrats will expose the neglect of mental health by the SNP Government and make the positive case for a stepchange in the way that we treat it.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

"An average of two people die by suicide every day. That means that since the SNP Government allowed the suicide prevention strategy to expire in December 2016 there will have been 1,000 deaths through suicide in Scotland.

"Given that the previous strategy reduced deaths significantly, this means that there have potentially been dozens of unnecessary deaths as a result of SNP inaction. Suicide has a tragic effect on families and communities and the SNP owe every single one of them an apology for their failure to put a suitable plan in place.

"Research last week showed that 1 in 9 young adults in Scotland have attempted to commit suicide. This week, research showed 35% of adults have experienced suicidal feelings as a result of stress. Against this backdrop, we cannot tolerate people waiting months on end for the treatment they desperately need.

"We need a stepchange in how we treat mental health, not this shameful 500 day milestone and a draft strategy which charities have deemed totally inadequate."