Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has called for a renewed focus on increasing mental health support as figures released today show that deaths by suicide in Scotland were continuing to increase before the pandemic.
Public Health Scotland statistics reveal that in 2019, the number of probable suicides increased to 833, a year on year increase of 6.25%.
Although the highest rate of deaths was in the 45-54 age bracket, the number of deaths due to suicide increased across all ages, with deaths amongst men almost three times higher than women.
Jackie Baillie has called out the Scottish Government for its lack of progress towards meeting its own target of a 20% reduction in suicide deaths by 2022, and said that many deaths could be prevented with the right support in place.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“Scotland’s mental health crisis is worsening and this tragic increase in the number of deaths by suicide is worrying.
“Anyone can experience mental health problems, but no-one should have to live with such levels of distress that they consider ending their own life.
“These new figures are only for suicides prior to 2020. It shows that pre-COVID 19 – and the negative impact that it has had on mental health and wellbeing – people were already struggling.
“As a result of the pandemic, we are seeing unprecedented pressure on people dealing with loneliness and isolation so more must be done to highlight the support that is available.
“The Scottish Government also needs to do more than set targets. It must work with the NHS and all partners to end long waiting times for mental health care, and ensure support is available and accessible to those that need it as a matter of urgency.”