Suicide rates in Dumfries and Galloway grew for the first time since 2011 to 20 people in 2016, a new report has revealed.
Suicide rates had been decreasing across Dumfries and Galloway since 2011 when 27 suicide deaths were recorded, but last year saw a sharp rise.
The report also showed that men make up 2/3rds of all suicide cases in Dumfries and Galloway. That trend is mirrored across Scotland as men’s mental health issues have been criticised from campaigners and patients alike.
As a whole 728 people were deemed to have died from probable suicide in Scotland in 2016.
Discussing the latest figures, Colin Smyth MSP for the South of Scotland and Shadow Health Minister said:
“Suicide is one of the most tragic and saddening issues health care professionals have to deal with. It is a complex and difficult subject to even discuss never mind tackle.
The rise in the number of people committing suicide in Dumfries and Galloway is not just worrying but deeply sad. Behind the statistics are individuals and families and that’s why the authorities need to learn from each experience and consider what more can be done to prevent such tragedies.
This is the first increase in suicides since 2011 and needs to be addressed as part of a growing mental health crisis. One of the biggest problems facing people with mental health issues is having access to help. The Scottish Government must reassure the public that it is taking the right action and respond to concerns over rising mental health waiting times and cuts to addiction recovery services. It should also do more when it comes to prevention and invest in early intervention, like having access for pupils to school-based counselling. By investing in mental health services and having a Government that treats mental health patients with the same care and priority levels as physical health then we can start addressing this growing problem.
Anyone experiencing mental health issues should contact their local GP practices or contact some of the excellent local mental health charities here in Dumfries and Galloway such as Samaritans or MIND.”