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Caithness News Bulletins August 2005
Suicide Figures Published
Choose Life Co-ordinator for the Highlands, Michael Perera, commented: " The numbers in Highland are small but it is an important public health problem and each one of these deaths is a tragedy. In around three-quarters of these cases, they have had no contact with health or social work at the time of their deaths. That is why we have been trying to raise awareness of the issue and of the warning signs. We have provided training to over 500 people across the Highlands to help them recognise the signs in people who may be thinking of taking their own lives. The people at risk are our neighbours, our family members, and our friends. In order to have a suicide safer community in Highland we need more people who are able to recognise the warning signs in others and to encourage them to seek help. Just as importantly, when individuals are experiencing suicidal thoughts, they need to feel able to seek help."
He added: "I would say topeople who are experiencing distress at present – help and support is available. GPs and community health staff are very used to talking about this. Anyone who does not wish to contact their GP at first can speak to confidential helplines if they prefer. Breathing Space and the Samaritans are both excellent."
Breathing Space is available from 6pm to 2am daily on 0800 83 85 87
Samaritans are available on 08457 90 90 90
Facts and Figures on suicide in Scotland
Over the last 30 years, there has been an average of around 30 deaths in the Highlands each year classified as suicide.
Rates in women in the Highland Council area are not higher than average, but male rates are higher than average. Over a twenty-year period, 10% of male suicide deaths in Highland were in men who did not live in Scotland, which increases the apparent Highland rate. These deaths are included in the published Highland figures.
Most people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death. The commonest illness is depression. Many people have not sought any treatment for their illness before their death. This may be because of fears about stigma, or because they do not recognise that their distress could be helped.
People with alcohol and drug problems are more likely to die by suicide.
In each case, risk factors are common, but suicide is uncommon. Other factors, including self-esteem and available social support, are important.
Response to Suicide
Work in Highland includes: