Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton has today attacked the "negligent" Scottish Government as new figures revealed that almost 700 people died by suicide in 2017, during the entirety of which there was no suicide prevention strategy in place.
New figures released by ISD Scotland show that there were 680 probable suicides registered in Scotland in 2017. The Scottish Government's suicide prevention strategy expired in December 2016 - 543 days ago.
Commenting on the figures, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“Any suicide is a tragedy and has a devastating impact on those left behind.
"These statistics show that hundreds of families have been let down. It is now 18 months since SNP ministers allowed the last suicide prevention strategy to expire and it still hasn't been replaced. That is negligent and has held services back.
"Led by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Parliament recently rebuked ministers for this failure and demanded a step change in both ambition and investment in mental health.
"Today a new mental health minister takes office. They must prioritise the delivery of a comprehensive strategy for suicide prevention that provides vulnerable people and their families with the support they need."