Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will be specifically targeted in the Scottish Government’s new suicide prevention strategy, published today.
For the first time, resources will be directed to ‘identify and facilitate preventative actions at risk groups”, including LGBT people.
The Scottish Government’s Minister for Mental Health, Clare Haughey MSP, published a new 10-point action plan and announced funding of £3million to help achieve a 20% reduction in Scottish suicide rates by 2022.
Speaking at the men’s ‘SHARE’ suicide prevention project in Midlothian, the minister said:
“Every life matters and no death by suicide should be regarded as either acceptable or inevitable. Over the past decade, Scotland has made real progress in reducing deaths by suicide but we have far more to do. We want a Scotland where suicide is preventable, and where anyone contemplating suicide or who has lost a loved one gets the support they need.”
“This plan sets out how the Scottish Government and our partners will achieve this and it makes clear that suicide prevention is everyone’s business. Our approach recognises the need to work together across sectors and organisations to identify and support people in distress, strengthen communities, and save lives.”
The action plan will see the Government establish a new National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, develop new compulsory training for public sector staff in mental health and suicide prevention, and develop a new Scottish Crisis Care Agreement which will introduce a national set of standards and pathways of support for those feeling suicidal.
Earlier this year equality organisations in Scotland released a report outlining the mental health challenges faced by LGBT people, including that over a third of transgender people had attempted suicide atleast once, and that LGB adults were twice as likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual adults.
Maruska Greenwood, Chief Exec of Edinburgh-based LGBT Health and Wellbeing, welcomed the action plan launch, telling us:
“We welcome Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan and are extremely encouraged by this recognition of at risk groups. We hope that this explicit mention of LGBT people in the Action Plan will help engender greater focus on the mental health inequalities experienced by our communities, and galvanise action in this area.”
“LGBT Health and Wellbeing looks forward to working with partners on this agenda, and playing its role in addressing the risk of suicide within LGBT communities.”