East Renfrewshire Council has joined a nationwide campaign to reduce the number of people committing suicide.

For the first time, every local authority in Scotland has agreed to adopt a single action plan to save lives.

In 2019, a total of 833 people in Scotland took their own life – an average of more than two each day.

Every death is believed to affect at least 135 other people and cost the economy around £1.7million a year.

The Scottish Government’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) has made it a priority to tackle suicide in men, who are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Other high risk target groups are people living in poverty and those with mental illness.

The NSPLG also wants to help bereaved families get proper help and end the stigma of suicide.

It is staging a new public awareness campaign dubbed United to Prevent Suicide.

Rose Fitzpatrick, chair of NSPLG, told the Barrhead News: “Our vision is of a Scotland where suicide is preventable, where help and support is available to anyone who is contemplating suicide and to those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

“No death should ever be considered inevitable and this means we all have a part to play. 

“We believe suicide prevention is everyone’s business and the launch of this guidance will help to support local communities, who have such an important role in keeping people safe from suicide.”

Council staff are also being asked to provide feedback so that further improvements can be made.

Jane O’Donnell, director of people policy for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), said: “We’re delighted to endorse this action plan.

“Local authorities have a critical role to play. By implementing this guidance, we will learn what helps reduce the likelihood of someone dying by suicide.”

The new guidance contains detailed information about suicide prevention.

It has been developed over the past three years, with input from academics with expert knowledge of suicide, as well as people who have had suicidal thoughts, made suicide attempts or been bereaved by suicide.

A spokesperson for the East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “The new guidance developed by the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group, alongside support from Cosla, is extremely welcome.

“We are committed to developing an action plan which will raise awareness and ensure vital supports are available for people in East Renfrewshire who need them.”

Anyone who is struggling with their mental health or feeling suicidal can call NHS24 on 111. Alternatively, contact Samaritans on 116 123 or Breathing Space on 0800 835 887.