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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Plans to tackle suicide rate
Depressed woman
Young people are thought to be most at risk
Proposals to tackle the country's "appalling suicide rate" have been unveiled by the Scottish Executive.

Ministers decided to take action after figures published last year revealed that the suicide rate among young men had soared over the past 30 years.

Under the new Framework for Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm, local champions will be brought to identify factors which can lead to problems and co-ordinate action.

There will also be a review of care and more work with young people to reduce the stigma associated with mental health problems.

Malcolm Chisholm
Malcolm Chisholm: "Suicide framework"
The framework was unveiled on Wednesday by deputy health minister Malcolm Chisholm.

He said: "It is a shocking and tragic fact that suicide kills more young men under the age of 35 in Scotland than road traffic accidents.

"Over 600 people in Scotland kill themselves each year - with suicide rates over three times higher in young men than in women.

"And the problem is wider than just suicide and young men. There are also around 10,000 admissions to hospital each year for people who deliberately harm themselves, and that it is women who are in the majority."

Mr Chisholm said that both issues needed to be addressed together but stressed the need to identify the factors which drive people to harm themselves.

He said: "Our new framework recognises that there is no single cause - mental health problems are influenced by a wide range of factors, such as poverty and unemployment, drug and alcohol misuse.

Man on phone
A helpline is being planned to help those at risk
"This draft framework is part of our drive to recognise and tackle the wide range of different types of suicidal behaviour, as well as the factors that contribute to them.

"In the first place, we must do all we can to promote better mental health, and support people earlier to do what we can to help prevent problems getting out of control."

The minister said the executive's mental health policy had been widened to take in the promotion of mental health in addition to tackling problems.

He stressed the need for local agencies to work together to identify and treat specific factors.

Mr Chisholm added: "We are also already working on a helpline for people with depression or anxiety, especially those, such as young men, who might not normally get in touch with health services."

BBC Scotland's David Nisbet reports
"In some age groups suicide kills more young men than road traffic accidents in Scotland"
See also:

27 Nov 00 | Scotland
Report points to suicide rise
09 Oct 00 | Scotland
Alarming rise in suicide rate
06 Jul 00 | Health
Suicide 'linked to' the moon
13 Oct 99 | Health
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