Government must “press fast forward” on plans for more regular suicide reporting

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today called on the Scottish Government to “press fast forward” on moves to improve suicide reporting, after the Minister for Mental Health accepted the Liberal Democrat case for improving the regularity of reports. 

Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey, confirmed that the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group along with Public Health Scotland are “looking at ways to extract reliable real-time data from other sources to inform local and national suicide prevention in Scotland”.  

This week, Chief Executive of NHS 24, Angiolina Foster, told Holyrood’s health committee that NHS 24 has responded to an increased number of callers struggling with suicidal thoughts during the pandemic. 

Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:

“People across the country have seen their mental health suffer over recent months. Experts have given us some insight, but we are a long way short of understanding the actual extent of this.

“Currently suicide statistics are published just once a year and with a significant time lag. We can't wait until next summer to learn what has already happened during this pandemic. That’s not good enough. Services need to be reactive and able to recognise concerning trends and respond to them. 

“I’m glad the government is looking at this but they need to press fast forward. This work is urgent."

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