Suicide toll in Lothian at lowest level for many years

THE number of people committing suicide in Lothian has dropped to a 17 year low according to new figures.

There were 89 deaths on Lothian caused by intentional self harm in 2006, compared to 116 for the previous year.

This is the lowest figure since 1989, when there were 82 self-inflicted deaths, according to data published by the Information Services Division of NHS National Services Scotland.

Dr Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health, NHS Lothian, said:

"Every case of suicide is an avoidable tragedy for that person, their family and for society in general. We are working very hard with our partners to ensure that we can support people in coping with often desperately-difficult personal circumstances, with the aim of minimising the toll taken on our communities in Lothian by suicide."

She added:

"Most people who attempt suicide do not want to die; they want to end the pain they are suffering and help is available. If you are worried that someone is suicidal, ask them. It could save their life. If you are feeling suicidal, don't hide it. Talk to someone you trust or phone a helpline."

Of the 89 deaths, 63 involved men and 26 women.

NHS Lothian works with a number of partners in supporting people experiencing severe emotional disturbance. Breathing Space is available on 0800 83 85 87 (6pm-2am). It is aimed at anyone who is experiencing low mood or depression, or who is unusually worried and in need of someone to talk to.