This afternoon Miles Briggs MSP will be speaking in the Suicide Prevention Debate at the Scottish Parliament.
Miles spoke on the importance of finding new ways of communicating with men and younger people who feel suicidal and ensuring they know that there is support out there for them and they can ask for that help.
He praised the #itsoktotalk campaign that has been shared widely on social media and been endorsed by many leading sports people and has encouraged everyone to promote this initiative.
Scotland’s suicide rate remains stubbornly higher than that south of the border with 13.9 deaths per 100,000 people in Scotland in 2017 compared to England’s 9.2
There is a particular challenges in terms of tackling and preventing male suicides, especially in the 45-54 age group which has seen an increase in the suicide rate for the second consecutive year.
Suicide is still the single biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK, as well as younger people aged 25-34.
It is of real concern that polling by Samaritans indicated earlier this year that as many as 4 in ten people in Scotland said they would not know who to turn to if they were supporting someone in crisis.
The speech will include concerns over SNP Ministers lack of a suicide strategy for over a year and a half and the lack of ambition in the draft plan set out in March.
Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP, said:
“Mental health is an issue that still has a lot of stigma attached to it and this is one of the biggest obstacles to improving mental health across Scotland.
“The #ItsOkToTalk campaign is an incredibly important message to change the attitudes on being able to talk about mental health.
“I encourage people in Lothian to get involved with the social media campaign and let everyone know that #ItsOkToTalk.
“I would also like to pay thanks to all of the volunteers across Lothian who do such an excellent job supporting people when they are at their lowest.
“In Lothian there is a shortage of male befrienders for providing support to men, who are the most at risk of suicide, so I would encourage anyone who has considered volunteering to do so.”