You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Publication

Suicide prevention action plan: engagement paper

Published: 8 Mar 2018
Part of:
Health and social care

This paper invites public comment on proposals for a future suicide prevention action plan.

16 page PDF


16 page PDF


Suicide prevention action plan: engagement paper
1 Improving the use of evidence, data and guidance on suicide prevention

16 page PDF


1 Improving the use of evidence, data and guidance on suicide prevention

Suicide is preventable; it is not inevitable. We do not want anyone to die by suicide. We are ambitious about improving our knowledge and the use of evidence and data across a broader spectrum of interests on suicide prevention to continue the downward trend in suicides.

On a daily basis, lives are saved through the high quality of care and of clinical skills of staff in the NHS in Scotland. There is a wealth of guidance available to NHS staff on issues such as transitions [17] , self-harm [18] and depression [19] . There is also research to illustrate that implementing key mental health service recommendations were associated with reducing suicides in mental health patients [20] . We also have the Scottish Patient Safety Programme (Mental Health) at Healthcare Improvement Scotland ( HIS) [21] . There is a strong learning culture on suicide in the NHS in Scotland that supports a community of evidenced-based practice and shared learning [22] .

Along with the NHS, other national services, such as Social Work, Police Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Scottish Prison Service, are working with local partners to safeguard people who may be vulnerable to suicide. The Scottish Prison Service, for example, introduced "Talk to Me", a revised Suicide Prevention Strategy, into all Scottish prisons on 5th December 2017. This is a multi-agency strategy developed in partnership with Health Scotland, Samaritans, Families Outside and Breathing Space in order to provide improved person-centred care approach to the prevention of suicide .

In Commitment 1 of the Suicide Prevention Strategy (2013-16), we linked work on self harm with distress and developed the Distress Brief Intervention ( DBI) [23] [24] . The DBI provides a framework for improved inter-agency co-ordination, collaboration and co-operation across a wide range of national organisations and local community supports, including the NHS, Police Scotland, the Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS24, Penumbra and Support in Mind. We see an opportunity to capitalise on these types of links between national organisations and local activity as a way to translate innovation and learning into sustainable partnerships.

We have good evidence now about suicide, highlighting risk factors and providing an evidence base of effective interventions. We need to apply this knowledge.

Action 1

We will establish a "knowledge into action" ( KIA) group consisting of key national statutory and Third Sector agencies, and people with lived experience. The KIA group will track data analysis about self harm and suicide, along with the emerging evidence base for effective interventions and will develop and test improvements.


1a) Do you agree that we should establish a "knowledge into action" group for suicide prevention? (Tick one only)

Don't know

1b) Please explain your answer.

1c) Please provide any additional comments or suggestions about improving the use of evidence, data and/or guidance on suicide prevention.