The number of suicides in Glasgow, particularly for Glaswegian males, has decreased substantially. Rates are at their lowest level in 30 years and have dropped by half since 1993.
This contrasts with the UK as a whole, with statistics published in 2013 suggesting that UK suicide rates have increased, with male suicide rates being at their “highest” for “more than a decade”, as the Telegraph documented in February 2015.
However, in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area suicide rates have dropped to 51% of the 1993 suicide rate. Notably, in Glasgow City where deaths almost meet the average for Scotland, deaths by suicide have decreased significantly by 60%.
The reduction in Glasgow suicide rates is thought to have been encouraged by the development of the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) Suicide Prevention Policy. The co-author of the report, Dr Trevor Lakey, commented that while he was pleased with the decrease in the Glasgow suicide rate and that they “are determined to continue our efforts to reduce rates further.”
The NHSGGC Suicide Prevention Policy was established in November 2012. Among its six predominant objectives, it aimed to identify “risk factors” that might lead to suicides so that those deemed at risk could be given support at an early stage. It additionally focused on implementing programmes aimed towards providing adequate support for Glaswegian individuals exhibiting “suicidal behaviour”.
The creation of the NHSGGC Suicide Prevention Policy was developed after a study published in February 2012 noted a particularly high suicide rate among men in Scotland, in relation to England and Wales. The number of Scottish suicides were approximately “80% higher” in 2008 than they were in 1960. Additionally, the study suggested that as a whole Scotland experienced a higher level of suicides “than the UK overall since the early 1990s”.
As of February 2015, suicide is “the leading cause of death in England and Wales for men aged 20 – 34…”.
In response to these statistics, Dr Peter Carter, the Royal College of Nursing’s chief executive and general secretary, commented: “Suicide is a complex issue, and it is difficult to say with certainty that individual deaths can be prevented…”
Despite this, he argued: “Better support for people experiencing mental health problems would help prevent suicides and enable many people to lead full and fulfilling lives with distressing but manageable conditions.”
Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation, suggested: “Early intervention is the key.”
The NHSGGC policy is taking heed of both of these factors in its attempt to cut down suicide rates further.