New figures published indicate that the suicide rate in Scotland has declined significantly over the last decade.
The Scottish suicide rate reduced by 17.8 percent between the periods 2000-2004 and 2010-2014, according to statistics published by SD Scotland and National Record of Scotland.
There was also a fall over the last twelve months, with 696 people having committed suicide in 2014, compared with 795 in 2013.
It is also noteworthy that the figures were even more historically significant once the new accounting system is taken into consideration.
National Records of Scotland has recently changed the way that suicides are recorded.
Under the old system, the number of suicides in 2014 would in fact be the lowest recorded since 1977.
The decline in suicides in Scotland could be attributed to numerous measures put in place by the authorities.
It is particularly notable that this statistic is decreasing at a time of economic challenges for many people; usually an indicator of high suicide rates.
Measures taken in order to combat suicide in Scotland have included the establishment of a Scottish Suicide Information Database, extensive training in suicide awareness among NHS frontline workers, the recruitment of Choose Life Co-ordinators to the majority of Scottish local authorities, and a raft of campaigns intended to raise awareness of the issue nationally.
These initiatives collectively are part of the overall three-year Suicide Prevention Strategy that was put in place by the Scottish government in 2013.
Speaking on the issue, Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, was cautiously optimistic about the figures.
“Any suicide is a tragedy, but the reduction of 17.8 per cent represents a particularly welcome development. This would not have been possible without the dedication of the professionals who work in this often challenging field,” Hepburn stated.
“We know that suicide rates are strongly related to deprivation levels, I am pleased to see that this inequality has decreased in recent years,” Hepburn continued.
Alana Atkinson, Lead for the National Programme for Suicide Prevention at NHS Health Scotland was encouraged by “the continuing declining trend in suicides in Scotland” and particularly welcomed the fact that “the inequalities in suicide rates associated with deprivation have decreased in both absolute and relative terms for males, and in absolute terms for females.”
Further suicide statistics for Scotland can be viewed at www.isdscotland.org.