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Scottish mental health charity SAMH has launched a new national programme to prevent suicide and support people affected by it. The charity, which held its first event for people affected by suicide in September, is aiming to establish community support networks across Scotland, which will help people at risk.
The national programme is not aimed at a particular section of society - in Scotland suicide kills about two people per day from all walks of life. However the charity recognises that people who find themselves homeless are statistically more likely to be affected.
One estimate, from the charity Crisis, says that people sleeping rough are 35 times more likely to commit suicide. Contributing factors, according to the charity’s research, include the stress and trauma that go hand-in-hand with living without a home, isolation from support networks, and the difficulty in getting help for mental health problems.
Billy Watson, SAMH’s Chief Executive, said: “SAMH has worked in mental health for almost ninety years. So it was natural for us to focus on using mental health improvement to reduce suicide. We want our National Programme to be there for people across Scotland, both in helping to prevent the devastation caused by suicide and in supporting families who have lost someone”.
SAMH has been working with people affected by suicide since 2004, when it first produced its After a Suicide information guide.
This summer it launched its first high street information point in Glasgow. The walk-in mental health resource centre on Wilson Street is open Monday to Saturday.
• If you are feeling suicidal, talk to someone you trust or phone Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 or Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. If you are having serious thoughts about suicide, and you have a plan and the means to carry it out: call 999 right now.