That people living in Scotland’s most deprived communities are three times more likely to kill themselves than the inhabitants of our wealthiest areas may not be particularly surprising.
But it would be wrong to respond to such news of human suffering and grief with a collective shrug of the shoulders.
For too long, the residents of the sink estates of Glasgow and Edinburgh, in particular, have been abandoned by the rest of society and the austerity of recent years has only added to their woes.
Rising prices and rents, overly harsh benefit sanctions and the sharp practice of gig-economy employers are also aspects of modern life that can contribute to a sense of hopelessness and despair. These are difficult problems to address, but all of us owe a duty to our fellow citizens to try.
It is simplistic to blame the Scottish Government; ministers have no magic wand to wave and throwing taxpayers’ money at the situation will not find a lasting solution by itself. But, surely, if our best and brightest put their minds to it, we could do better than this.