A new Suicide Prevention Strategy for Scotland

Closed 23 Aug 2022

Opened 13 Jul 2022


The Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) will publish a new Suicide prevention Strategy and Action Plan in September 2022. This will replace the current Suicide Prevention Action Plan: Every Life Matters which was published in 2018. 

Every Life Matters sets out ten actions which are driven by the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG). The Plan continues to deliver a wide range of actions, including: campaigns to reduce stigma and promote suicide awareness (with a focus on reaching groups with a higher risk of suicide), improving suicide prevention skills of the workforce; ensuring effective, compassionate support to anyone in crisis, supporting local suicide prevention planning and design and testing of new services for people in suicidal crisis and following a bereavement.

Good work is already happening across Scotland – nationally and locally – to prevent suicide, and the new Strategy and Action Plan will build on that foundation, whilst being ambitious and going further than before, to ensure fewer lives in Scotland are lost to suicide.

The final version of the Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan will be published in September 2022.

The draft Strategy and draft Action Plan can be accessed at the bottom of this page, under 'related documents'. You may find it helpful to open these before you begin the consultation questions so you can refer to them as you go through. 

Please be aware that there is also a consultation exercise underway on a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. You may wish to share your views on that consultation and can access it here: Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy Consultation 

More Information

Since September 2021 the Scottish Government, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) and Public Health Scotland (PHS) have carried out extensive early engagement with key stakeholders, partners, groups and communities across Scotland - participation levels have been extremely high.  

By taking a ‘multi-stage’ approach to engagement at all of the key stages of the strategy development, we have sought to ensure stakeholders, partners, communities and people with lived experience of suicide, have had their views heard in a meaningful way. Hearing these views throughout the development of the strategy has supported the drafting of the strategy and action plan, which means that people across the country have helped to co-develop the vision, principles, priorities and outcomes of the strategy and the focus of the action plan.

We have also engaged proactively with key sectors and partners who we feel can play a key role in preventing suicide, within and beyond the health and social care sector.

In helping us develop a draft of this Strategy and Action Plan, we have also considered established international evidence on suicide prevention, such as guidance from the World Health Organisation.

A report on analysis of early engagement activity is available via the Scottish Government website at the following link: Suicide prevention strategy development: early engagement - summary report.

More Information

We are taking an outcomes approach to develop this strategy. Outcomes are the results or changes we want to see as a result of the strategy and action plans. These include changes in knowledge, awareness, skills, practice, behaviour, social action, decision making etc. Outcomes may be intended and/or unintended, positive and negative. Outcomes fall along a continuum from immediate (short term) to intermediate (medium term) to final outcomes (long term)

The Strategy and Action Plan will approach suicide prevention in a way that takes into account all aspects of an individual’s experiences which could contribute to suicidal behaviour.

This strategy is ‘cross-government’ in recognition that suicidal ideation is often as a result of a number of complex issues people are experiencing, which sit beyond the reach and responsibility of the health and social care services. For example, we know that there is increased risk of suicide in middle aged men, those experiencing poverty or isolation, carers, or those who are LGBT+ or who are neurodiverse.

In practice, this means the strategy and action plan sets out how suicide prevention will be embedded within existing and future policies across national and local government, and how that translates into effective action on the ground - across all sectors and communities.

The strategy will run over the course of ten years, with an initial action plan accompanying it that will run for three years.

More Information

We know that sometimes it can be difficult to talk or write about your, or other people’s, experiences of suicide. Support is always available, and if you feel that any of the issues raised in this consultation affect you, the following sources of support may be useful:  

Breathing Space

Breathing Space is Scotland's mental health helpline for individuals experiencing symptoms of low mood, depression, or anxiety, and offers free and confidential advice for individuals over the age of 18. They can be contacted on 0800 83 85 87, 6pm to 2am Monday to Thursday; and from 6pm Friday throughout the weekend to 6am Monday.


Samaritans provide confidential non-judgemental emotional support 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair.  You can contact Samaritans free on short code 116 123 or via email on jo@samaritans.org

NHS24 Mental Health Hub

Telephone advice and support on healthcare can be obtained from NHS24 on the short code 111; the Mental Health Hub is open 24/7.

Read the consultation paper 

Why your views matter

This is the third and final stage of consultation on Scotland’s new Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan (2022).

We want you to share your views about the proposed content of these documents which will be published in September 2022. Specifically, we are looking for your views on:

Draft Strategy:

  • The proposed vision for the strategy
  • The proposed priorities (which will be the focus of the initial 3 year action plan)
  • The proposed outcomes we are seeking to achieve over this strategy
  • The proposed principles on how we work
  • The proposals for delivering and overseeing the strategy and action plan.

Draft Action Plan:

  • The approach we are taking to link actions to support delivery of the outcomes.
  • Any views on continuing to build on the current actions from the current Suicide Prevention Action Plan - 'Every Life Matters'
  • The new actions we are proposing under each outcome
  • Which outcomes and actions you consider should be prioritised 

By sharing your views, you will help us ensure that we produce a suicide prevention strategy and action plan which works for, and is accessible to, everyone in Scotland.   

You may feel that you do not want to answer some of the questions contained in the consultation and you can choose to skip questions if you do not have a view or a particular interest in the area we are asking about. Whether you answer all of the questions, or only some, your views will be carefully considered by the Scottish Government and COSLA when we further refine the Strategy and Action Plan ahead of publication in September.

What happens next

The final version of the Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan will be published in September 2022.


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