SCOTLAND: Sharing the Pain: How Scotland Cut Male Suicide Rates

March 25, 2016

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Guardian

During the last decade, Scotland has had some success in reducing its high suicide rate among men credited partly to local projects funded under its 10-year suicide prevention strategy, “Choose Life.” One of these, the Men’s Suicide, Harm, Awareness, Recovery and Empathy (SHARE) project, provides group and one-to-one support, financial and practical advice, and social activities such as football and cards. Men can go to SHARE seven days a week and find others who will help them. According to George, a participant who has made several suicide attempts since he became homeless three years ago, “It’s somewhere I feel safe just talking things out. . . Here, I know everyone – and I know that everyone understands.” However, with about 60 men using the project at a time, and the numbers growing, project coordinator John Murphy says, “I think this is just the tip of the iceberg, and there’s a backdrop of more austerity creating further pressures.” And, despite the significant decrease in the male suicide rate in Scotland, it is still higher than in England. According to advocates such as Jane Powell, chief executive of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a UK organization to prevent suicide among males, innovative local projects are not enough – the Scottish government needs to do more on the national level.

Spark Extra!  For a recorded webinar on best practices for suicide prevention among men in the middle years, see A Surprising Health Disparity: Suicide among Men in the Middle Years.