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Monday, 2 December, 2002, 13:23 GMT
'Stop the suicides' plan unveiled
Young woman
Fewer women than men took their own lives
The suicide rate in Scotland has become an "urgent" public health issue, according to the country's health minister.

Malcolm Chisholm has pledged 12m of government cash in an attempt to reduce the number of people taking their own lives.

The money is to be spent over the next three years on a programme which aims to bring about a 20% reduction in the suicide rate by 2013.

In Scotland last year, there were 887 suicides. The toll has risen by 22% over the past two decades.

'Healthy Scotland'

Suicides amongst the Scottish male population accounted for 646 of the deaths in 2001, three times more than female suicides.

Launching Scotland's first national suicide prevention plan in Glasgow, Mr Chisholm said: "Preventing suicide and reducing the rate of suicide in Scotland is an urgent public health issue.

"It goes right to the heart of our efforts and policies to create a healthy, socially inclusive Scotland."

  • For men under 35 in Scotland, suicide is the biggest single cause of death and exceeds the number of accidental deaths

  • While the rate of suicide is smaller for women, it has increased over the last 20 years

  • About 1,400 youngsters in Scotland are treated in hospital each year for deliberate self-harm

  • The Scottish suicide rate, of 17.36 per 100,000, is nearly double that of England and Wales, where there were 4,922 deaths in 2000, an overall rate of 9.3 per 100,000

  • Scotland has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe.

Of the 12m, 9m will be shared amongst Scotland's local authorities, with the intention of producing a detailed local suicide prevention action plan by the end of 2003.

The national and local strategy has seven objectives, including providing better support, responding to immediate crises, promoting greater public awareness and encouraging people to seek help earlier.

Mr Chisholm said: "Much good work is already being done throughout Scotland.

"This work must continue but we need to achieve more.

"Reducing the rate of suicide is not something we can change overnight."

See also:

11 Mar 02 | Scotland
12 Feb 02 | Scotland
10 Oct 01 | Scotland
01 Nov 99 | Health
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