Number of suicides in Scotland rises for second year in a row

The number of probable suicides in Scotland has risen for the second year in a row, according to new data from National Records of Scotland.

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Suicide rates have increased for the second year in a row.Suicide rates have increased for the second year in a row.
Suicide rates have increased for the second year in a row.

There were 833 probable suicides in 2019, and increase of six per cent on the previous year.

The data was gathered before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.The majority of these were men, with 620 men and 213 women dying by suicide.

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The highest rate of suicide for men and women is in the 45-54 age group.

There were 2,726 accidental deaths, an increase of 8.5 per cent on the previous year. The majority of these were as a result of accidental poisonings or falls.

National Records of Scotland reported a clear link between deprivation and suicide.

After adjusting for age, the death rate for people in the most deprived areas was 1.9 times that of those in the least deprived areas. This gap has gradually increased over time from a ratio of 1.6 in 2000.

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“Probable suicides” relates to deaths from intentional self-harm, and cases where it is not certain, but it is probable that the death was caused by suicide.

In 2018 there were 784 probable suicides. The rate had been decreasing each year between 2011, when National Records of Scotland introduced new coding rules to examine the data, and 2015.

Since 2017 the figure has risen each year.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition said the figures are the “tip of the iceberg” of Scotland’s mental health crisis.

They said: “The statistics highlighting that there were 833 probable suicides registered in Scotland in 2019 is devastating for so many families and only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to highlighting the mental health crisis we are currently in.

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“We have for some time called for radical transformation in our mental health services and expressed our concerns over the lack of investment in these for our children and young people. Currently around 50p in every £100 of NHS spending goes to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS), and yet we know that one in ten children has a diagnosable mental health problem and that figure is increasing. These problems of course if not addressed carry on into adult life.”

Samaritans can be contacted for free, 24 hours a day, on 116 123, or [email protected]. Visit for more information.

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