There were 833 probable suicides in Scotland last year, figures show, as a prevention charity called for urgent action.
Samaritans Scotland said every one of the deaths was “a devastating loss”, as the figure rose from 784 in 2018.
Of the total, 620 were men and 213 women, with the overall suicide rate increasing to 15.5 deaths per 100,000 – the highest rate since 2013.
Suicide rates peak among those aged 45 to 54 but the rate among young people, aged 14 to 25, increased for the second consecutive year.
Samaritans Scotland, who provide free 24/7 help to those in distress, said the data was a powerful reminder of the urgent need to continue to improve suicide prevention support.
Rachel Cackett, executive director of Samaritans Scotland, said: “Every single one of the 833 deaths by suicide in 2019 represents a devastating loss with far-reaching consequences for family, friends and communities.
“It’s particularly concerning to see rates of suicide increase for almost all age groups and for rates among young people under 25 continuing to rise this year.
“And, as in previous years, people living in the most deprived communities in Scotland continue to be around three times more likely to take their own life, compared to those living in the wealthiest communities.”
The data published on Tuesday covers 2019 only, with the charity saying it is still “too early” to know the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Cackett added: “By taking action, here and now, to renew and redouble their commitment to suicide prevention, government and services can help to reduce future risk.”
Rose Fitzpatrick, chair of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, said: “Suicide is a complex issue and one which, as the 6% increase reported today (following a 15% increase in 2018) shows all too clearly, continues to challenge us in Scotland and elsewhere to do more to support the wellbeing, mental health and life circumstances of those at risk.”
Ms Fitzpatrick added: “Today’s news shows that now more than ever we need to encourage people of all ages to talk about suicide, to be able to ask for help and to feel confident to give help when it is needed”
Over the last five years in Scotland, 3697 people took their own life.
Samaritans provides free anonymous and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said the figures for 2019 were “devastating”.
He added: “More than two people a day, young and old, are dying by suicide. Hundreds of families have had their world turned upside down.”
Scottish Greens health spokeswoman Alison Johnstone said: “These distressing statistics reveal that more than two people took their own lives each day in 2019.
“My thoughts go out to all those whose lives have been impacted by this tragedy, but of course condolences are not enough. This devastating loss of life shows the urgent need for the Scottish Government to improve access to mental health services.”
You can contact Samaritans by phone on 116 123 or visit here to find your nearest branch.
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