New Scottish panel consisting of people affected by suicide announced for World Suicide Prevention Day

The 10th of September is #WorldSuicidePreventionDay – a day to recognise that every 40 seconds someone somewhere loses their life to suicide.

The day is an opportunity for organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of a world can be created where fewer people die by suicide.

‘Every Life Matters’ – Scotland’s Suicide Action Prevention Plan published in 2018, recognises that homelessness; adverse childhood experiences (ACES) and later trauma; deprivation, poverty, and social exclusion; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are all factors and characteristics that can contribute to a raised suicide risk – these factors and characteristics also have the potential to contribute to a person developing a drug problem.

In recognition of the issue in Scotland, plans have been announced today by the Scottish Government for a new panel to inform and educate on the ways to prevent suicide, consisting of people affected by suicide.

The panel will be made up of those who have previously attempted suicide or who have experienced suicidal thoughts and those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Their personal experience will help support the Scottish Government’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group. The recruitment of the panel will be a collaboration between mental health charities including SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), Support in Mind, Samaritans and Penumbra.

Announcing the panel on World Suicide Prevention Day, Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“Every life matters and no death by suicide should be regarded as either acceptable or inevitable. This is why the new lived experience panel will have a pivotal role in helping to inform and shape our action plan.

“On World Suicide Prevention Day it is important that we raise awareness and promote more understanding of suicide in our society. It is our goal to live in a country where suicide is preventable, where help and support is available to everyone contemplating suicide or to people who have lost a loved one to suicide.

In addition to events and activities taking place on or around 10 September, the World Health Organisation are encouraging people in a new campaign to prepare to take “40 seconds of action” to help improve awareness of the significance of suicide as a global public health problem, improve knowledge of what can be done to prevent suicide, reduce the stigma associated with suicide, and let people who are struggling know that they are not alone.

Activities may be private, for example, initiating a conversation with someone you are worried about or sharing a message of support with someone who is struggling; or it may be public, for example posting a video message for local or national authorities about action you would like them to take on this issue.

Messages, photos, illustrations and videos that are not of a private nature can be shared on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #40seconds.

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