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Cole-Hamilton: Devastating SNP failure to develop suicide strategy

November 14, 2017 1:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today described the SNP's failure to deliver a new suicide prevention strategy almost a year after the previous one expired as a "devastating dereliction of duty".

New statistics today profiled the 5,119 people who died from suicide between 2009 and 2015, revealing three quarters were men and almost half were aged between 35 and 54.

Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:

"Suicide is an absolute tragedy and one that has had a profound impact on the families and local communities left behind.

"Recent figures show that across the country suicide is on the rise, yet almost a year after the previous suicide prevention strategy expired, the SNP have still not replaced it. We all knew that these strategies were set to expire so why did the Scottish Government allowed such a gap to appear? This is a devastating dereliction of duty.

"Under the first national suicide prevention strategy Choose Life, created in 2002 we saw an 18% fall in suicide rates. This shows what can be achieved but there is no chance of this while ministers drag their feet.

"Alongside a comprehensive new suicide prevention strategy, ministers must deliver a step change in mental health treatment to ensure that people get the support that they so desperately need."