EARLIER this week, a ‘Go-Live’ event for the new national ‘Creating Hope Together’ Suicide Prevention Action Plan was held at Borders College.

Attendees at the event included Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, Maree Todd.

The event provided an opportunity for NHS Border staff to showcase the suicide prevention work they have been doing locally and explain how it links to the national strategy.

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NHS Borders shared information with attendees about their recently published Mental Health Improvement and Suicide Prevention Action Plan – ‘Creating Hope in the Scottish Borders’.

This includes our partnership with the Scottish Rugby Union, Breathing Space and Quarriers to promote mental health and wellbeing in rugby clubs across the region.

Attendees also heard about the partnership work with Live Borders on ‘Headstrong’, a mental health in sport project for those aged 16 and above in sports clubs across the Scottish Borders.

These projects, among others, are part of ongoing work in the Borders to help reduce the stigma around suicide and increase awareness in communities of the signs that someone might be thinking about suicide, and how to signpost them to support.

If you are feeling suicidal or are concerned that someone you know is considering suicide, it’s important to know that help is available. Get in touch with your local GP for support or contact Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours) or Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 (lines open 24 hours at weekends and 6pm to 2am on weekdays). Urgent mental health support is available 24/7 from NHS 24 Mental Health Hub on 111. If someone is at immediate risk of suicide, call 999 to get help and support to them quickly.

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Dr Sohail Bhatti, Director of Public Health at NHS Borders, said: “We are incredibly proud of the work we are doing to contribute towards creating mentally healthy and suicide safer communities in the Borders.

“We believe that suicide prevention is everyone's business and would encourage people to familiarise themselves with the services, support and resources available to them if they or someone they know is struggling.”

Maree Todd, Mental Wellbeing Minister, said: “Together with COSLA we are fully committed to reducing suicide deaths in Scotland. This announcement of our year one priorities is a real milestone in delivering our new ambitious strategy Creating Hope Together, and we are focusing on reaching people who may be at risk of suicide and working to tackle the inequalities which can lead to suicide.

“Our new innovative partnership model is now in place to deliver this ambition programme of work, and our new Advisory Group brings great expertise and impartiality to oversee and champion the work, making sure our work leads to real change on the ground right across Scotland.

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“I am pleased to say that the Scottish Government is well on track to doubling the suicide prevention budget by 2026, with funding last year well over £2 million. I would like to pay real thanks to the Suicide Prevention Lived Experience Panel and Youth Advisory Group, and all partners. I look forward to undertaking this incredibly important work together.”