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Nurses in Scotland to receive mandatory mental health and suicide prevention training

The Scottish government’s suicide prevention action plan aims to reduce deaths by 20%

The Scottish government’s suicide prevention action plan aims to reduce deaths by 20%


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Nurses in Scotland are to receive mandatory mental health and suicide prevention training as part of plans to reduce the suicide rate by 20%.

The Scottish Government's suicide prevention action plan sets out ten actions to be taken, including the creation of a National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) by September.

Help and support

Minister for mental health Clare Haughey writes: ‘The Scottish Government’s vision, which is shared by our partners in mental health and suicide prevention, is of a Scotland where suicide is preventable; where help and support is available to anyone contemplating suicide and to those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

‘Suicide prevention is everyone’s business.’

‘Too many people in Scotland are losing their lives to suicide. The new plan must ensure that this changes’

Spokesperson for mental health charity See Me

The NSPLG group will make recommendations on supporting the development and delivery of local prevention action plans backed by £3 million funding over the course of the current parliament.

Reduction targets

The government will also fund the creation and implementation of refreshed mental health and suicide prevention training for the NHS by next May.

This will be delivered alongside mandatory physical health training NHS staff such as nurses, doctors, psychologists and pharmacists already receive.

The target of a 20% reduction in the suicide rate in Scotland by 2022 will be measured against the 2017 baseline - a year in which there were 680 probable deaths by suicide.

The World Health Organization has a global target of a 10% suicide reduction by 2020.

Removing the stigma

The suicide prevention action plan has been welcomed by NHS Health Scotland and charities.

A spokesperson from mental health charity See Me said: ‘Too many people in Scotland are losing their lives to suicide. The new plan must ensure that this changes by removing the stigma around talking about how you’re feeling and ensuring that immediate and compassionate support is available for those in distress.’

NHS Heath Scotland lead for public mental health Shirley Windsor said: ‘This will require sufficient resources and robust performance management arrangements.

‘We shall advocate for a clearer focus in building resilience and good mental health as part of the prevention activities, as well as supporting those who are already in contact with mental health services and the significant minority who are not.'

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