RCPCH responds to the Scottish Government's suicide prevention plan

Scotland's Mental Health Minister, Clare Haughey, today announced the country's new suicide prevention plan. Dr Donald Macgregor of the RCPCH responds to this announcement.

Scotland's Suicide Prevention Action Plan sets out ten measures to continue the strong decline in the country's rate of deaths by suicide. The plan aims to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2022, following a 20% fall between 2002-2006 and 2013-2017.

To implement the plan, the Scottish Government will set up a National Suicide Leadership Group and support it with a new £3 million innovation fund.

Responding to the launch of Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan, Dr Donald Macgregor of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:

“Mental health, and indeed suicide prevention, is ‘everyone’s business’ and the launch of today’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan gives a clear signal that Scottish Government is serious about supporting everyone, including children, who may develop a mental health problem. This is extremely welcome.

“When it comes to preventing suicide, we know that early identification is key. That’s why we are pleased to see this plan include pledges to establish awareness campaigns and mental health and suicide prevention training for all public and private staff. However, just as it will be compulsory for NHS staff to receive this training, we would like all staff, regardless of sector, to share that same obligation.

“When sadly deaths do occur from suicide, Scottish Government is absolutely right to review them to ensure lessons are learnt and acted on. However, we know that every year 400 infants, children and young people die in Scotland with many being avoidable, which is why we would like to see a robust, consistent review process rolled out for all child deaths without delay.”