Poverty-stricken Scots more likely to commit suicide
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Suicide is most prevalent in deprived areas with Scots from poverty stricken parts of the country three times more likely to take their own lives than those from better off locations, according to new data.
Charities and MSPs said the finding was alarming and showed the need for additional mental health support to be targeted at socially deprived areas.
National Records of Scotland figures showed that the number of suicides in Scotland has fallen for the fifth year in a row but middle-aged men are still most likely to take their own life.
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The figures showed there were 672 probable suicides registered in Scotland in 2015, down from 696 the previous year.
Deaths from suicide over the six years from 2009 to 2014 totalled 4,464, according to the latest Scottish suicide information database.
Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) were male, with 1,546 deaths among men aged between 35 and 54.
There were also 174 suicides by children and young people aged between five and 19 between 2009 and 2014.
Suicides were around three times more likely among those living in the most-deprived areas than those in better-off areas, with 1,376 deaths over the six-year period in the poorest communities compared to 488 in the least deprived areas.
The figures prompted the Samaritans to call for more to be done to tackle the links between suicide and deprivation.
James Jopling, executive director for Scotland, said: "The loss of each one of these 672 lives is a uniquely deeply-felt and personal tragedy which will have had a devastating effect on families and communities right across Scotland.
"It's clear, however, that some people are unequally bearing this burden.
"Despite success in bringing down suicide rates in Scotland over the past decade, the difference in the rates between the most and least-deprived people in Scotland persists.
"It is simply not tolerable that the risk of a person taking their own life is substantially increased according to how disadvantaged they may be.
"Suicide is an unjust and avoidable difference in length of life that results from being less affluent. This demands our attention and further action.
"We welcome the Scottish Government's continuing focus in addressing the rate of suicide in Scotland.
"I would, however, urge them to make tackling the link between deprivation and suicide a priority within this strategy."
Scottish Labour’s inequalities spokeswoman Monica Lennon backed the call for action to address the link between suicide and poverty.
Lennon said: “These figures should be a cause of real concern for all of us, and the Samaritans have rightly called on the SNP Government to tackle link between deprivation and death by suicide.
“If we are to prevent more deaths and spare more families the pain of dealing with a death by suicide, more must be done to provide targeted support in the most deprived areas.”