Disadvantaged Scots are three times more likely to die by suicide

The call comes at a time when figures show that people in the most deprived areas of Scotland are 2.7 times more likely to die by suicide between 2011 and 2021 than in the most affluent areas, with it in the most deprived areas poorest areas 2,478 deaths compared to 910 in the richest.

During that 10-year period, 8,330 people died by suicide, with the “annual crude suicide rate” falling from 17.6 people per 100,000 — 880 deaths — in 2011 to 14.2 people per 100,000 in 2021, according to the Suicide Information Database from Public Health Scotland report.

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Almost three quarters (73%) of the deceased were men and almost half (45%) were between 35 and 54 years old.

Scottish Labor Party mental health spokesman Paul Sweeney said: “These statistics released today show how much more work needs to be done to support the mental health of people in Scotland.”

“It is of real concern that economic disadvantage and gender continue to have such a significant impact on this issue.”

“We know more mental health support is needed – but action is also needed to tackle the cost of living crisis and make work pay so people don’t fall into despair.”

“Progress in rebuilding our NHS has been far too slow. We need Michael Matheson to get this problem under control before more lives are lost in a preventable manner.”

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Professor Stephen Platt, Professor Emeritus of Health Policy Research at the University of Edinburgh, said in the report that deprivation is a “significant factor” in suicide.

He added, “It is unclear whether these effects are due to the increased prevalence of mental illness … in more socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, or whether poverty itself is an independent risk factor.”

“In general, the (report) findings underscore the importance of acknowledging that suicide needs to be addressed as an issue of equity and social justice as well as mental health, which requires government intervention to reduce socioeconomic inequalities and socioeconomic problems address deprivation, reduce unemployment and maximize the creation of economically rewarding job opportunities.”

More than three-quarters (78%) of those who died by suicide in Scotland between 2011 and 2021 had contact with one of the ten health services surveyed, either in the 90 days before death for those present in the emergency department or in the 12 months before death for all other health services, the report said.

Less than one in eight (12%) were discharged from either an inpatient or outpatient psychiatric treatment in the year before death, while one in four was offered an outpatient psychiatric appointment during that time.

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Professor Platt said: “These findings may raise concerns about a potential gap between the mental health needs of high-risk individuals and the provision of secondary mental health services that meet those needs.”

“However, this deficiency can be at least partially mitigated by the use of other services (e.g. third sector) that are not captured in (the statistics).”

He added: “It is therefore very likely that some of the gap between psychiatric need and supply has been filled by a wider range of more general, non-specialised services.”

“Nevertheless, there appears to be a sizeable minority of the vulnerable population who were unconnected to health services prior to death but have unmet mental health (and other) needs.”

He said health service planners “will want to consider possible improvements in the organization, outreach, and delivery of services to high-suicide-risk groups, while health-care providers will want to consider improvements in identifying, engaging, and effectively treating those at high risk of suicide.” Risk”.

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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