Johnstone says suicide statistics show need for new mental health minister to prioritise prevention plan

Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP said suicide statistics published today (27 June) showed the need for the new mental health minister to prioritise a prevention plan promised by the previous minister.

Figures show there were 680 probable suicides in Scotland in 2017, down from 728 in 2016. 

The suicide rate for men was more than three times that for women, and the rate is more than two and a half times higher in Scotland's most deprived areas compared to the least deprived areas.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

“A decline in suicides is of course welcome as each death represents distress and trauma for everyone involved. It’s a concern that the suicide rate for men remains so much higher and that there remains a strong connection with areas experiencing poverty.

“The government’s new prevention plan can’t come soon enough, and I hope the new minister, Clare Haughey, helps get mental health higher up the government’s agenda. There’s a real need for a joined up approach, such as supporting GPs in areas of deprivation and putting the promised 800 additional mental health workers in place as quickly as possible.

“I have repeatedly raised the lack of leadership on self-harm, as the government’s mental health strategy did not set out any action on reducing it. We cannot allow people who have self-harmed or who are at risk of self-harming to fall through the gaps.”