Suicide rates in Dumfries and Galloway grow, as mental health services see longer waiting times

Frank and John from the SOBS Cumbria Carlisle group are set to speak about the increasing suicide rates in Dumfries and Galloway tonight.

Rates of suicide in the area have grown for the first time since 2011 – to 20 people in 2016, a new report has discovered. 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 revealed that men make up two thirds of deaths by suicide in Dumfries and Galloway, a trend that is reflected across Scotland as men’s mental health issues have been criticised by campaigners and patients alike. Altogether, 728 people were believed to have died from probable suicide in Scotland in 2016.

Discussing the latest figures, MSP for the South of Scotland and Shadow Health Minister, Colin Smyth, stated, “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.” 

You can catch John and Frank on ITV News Lookaround tonight, Tuesday 15 August at 6pm.