Preventing Suicide

Local MSP Kenneth Gibson writes here about a new panel that the Scottish government has set up to help people affected by suicide. 

On World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September 2019, the SNP Government announced a new panel to inform and educate on ways to prevent suicide.

The Lived Experiences Panel will be made up of those who have previously attempted to take their own life or who have experienced suicidal thoughts and those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Their personal experience will help support the SNP Government’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) and the recruitment of the panel will be a collaboration between mental health charities including Scottish Association for Mental Health, Support in Mind, Samaritans and Penumbra.

The NSPLG was established to help drive implementation of the SNP Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan and includes members from the third sector, NHS, Criminal Justice and Clinical practitioners, amongst other vital organisations.

The new Lived Experiences Panel will have a pivotal role in helping to inform and shape the action plan, which last year set a target of reducing the suicide rate by 20% over the next three years.

No death by suicide should be regarded as either acceptable or inevitable. It is important that we raise awareness and promote more understanding of suicide in our society. Scotland must strive to be a country where killing oneself is preventable and where help and support is available to everyone contemplating suicide or to people who have lost a loved one.

Over the past decade, real progress was made in reducing deaths by suicide but last year more people took their own lives than in 2017. We have much more work to do in encouraging people to talk about and confront their suicidal feelings.

The Lived Experience Panel is an opportunity for people who want to help make a difference to thousands of people’s lives and should be a true representation of our society, in order to make a difference we can all be proud of.

Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for more than 800,000 deaths, equivalent to one every 40 seconds.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the National Suicide Prevention: Lived Experience Panel or would like more information about it, please visit the Lived Experience website or email livedexperience@samh.org.uk