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Why Is Suicide So High In Highland - Research to inform suicide prevention

27th June 2019

Suicide prevention is a key priority for The Highland Council.

Members have agreed today, to take forward a piece of research with partners including NHS Highland and Police Scotland, to better understand the current evidence base and experience of suicide in Highland. This is with a view to developing a new preventative model of intervention.

Suicide can affect any individual, any family and any community. All organisations, both public and voluntary, have a role to play in raising awareness and understanding of suicide and taking a collaborative approach to prevention is critical.

Suicide not only affects the immediate family and friends of an individual but the wider community. The effects are devastating and cannot be underestimated.

The rates of suicide or attempted suicide in Highland have traditionally been higher than the national average. Suicide is recognised as a priority both locally and nationally and a council report outlines the approach taken. There has been a partnership approach to suicide prevention in Highland over many years. This includes joint training, awareness raising and work with communities.

Whilst the Choose Life partnership group continues to prioritise suicide prevention and wider approaches to promoting resilience and wellbeing through its work, it is recognised that a new collaborative approach to suicide prevention is required in Highland in order to address the scale of the current challenge.

It is proposed to undertake a needs assessment focused on suicide prevention. Whilst much is already known about suicide and the frequency and risk factors associated with suicide, a needs assessment would provide an opportunity to assess current evidence across partner data sources and review successful intervention activity related to suicide prevention both nationally and internationally. This would include gathering evidence from key third sector support groups and communities impacted by suicide. NHS Highland and Police Scotland both have data analyst time to contribute to this piece of work and the Council has agreed to allocate up to £15,000 from the Change Fund to support this research.

Early intervention approaches such as these are crucial to taking a more preventative approach to how we support communities and our workforces. This work will inform the development of a prevention model for Highland, including new approaches to suicide prevention.

Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: "Suicide is a tragic end of a life and has a devastating effect on everyone connected with that person. We need to understand what lies behind the stark facts to better plan what we can do to prevent suicide and provide the right support for anyone considering such a desperate and final path."

 

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