HEALTH bosses have admitted they are unlikely to be able to meet their target on suicide prevention – after it was revealed there has been a worrying increase in the number of people who are taking their own life.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde – which covers Renfrewshire – has been tasked with reducing the suicide rate by 20 per cent between 2002 and 2012.
But, in a report presented to MSPs, top health officials admit that is unlikely as the number of people taking their own life has been rising since 2005.
A high level of deprivation is one of the main reasons behind the expected failure to meet the target.
The report, which was presented to Holyrood’s public audit committee, states: “While a downward trend was experienced in the first four years of this target, from 2005 onwards the trend has been increasing.
“Increased suicide rates are widely associated with deprivation levels and the health board’s area has around 80 per cent of the Scottish population of people in the most deprived deprivation categories and only 20 per cent of the Scottish population.
“Suicide rates for the most deprived areas of Scotland are double those of the Scottish average.”
Health chiefs also admit they are unlikely to meet their target for staff training on suicide prevention.
They said this is due to the scale of the challenge, with around 10,000 frontline staff requiring training.
A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde added: “We are working hard to reduce suicide rates and meet the 2012 target, although we have acknowledged that this may be challenging, given the high levels of deprivation within our area.
“We have already put in place a range of prevention programmes to address many of the associated risk factors for suicide.
“Each local authority has a Choose Life programme in which we provide ongoing input to this programme. There is also a lot of activity around addictions where over 200 addictions staff have been trained in suicide prevention techniques.
“Community-based prevention activity is underway across the board area, including the creation of a suicide prevention-related play by a youth drama group, development of a bereavement support group in a number of areas and the groundbreaking anti-stigma partnership, which brings together over 50 local and national partners to address a diverse range aspects of stigma and promote mental wellbeing.”
The spokeswoman also stressed that “major progress” in training for staff has been made.
She continued: “We have increased the number of staff who have undergone training from 10 per cent in 2008 to 23 per cent by June 2009.
“A training action plan is in place and enhanced training capacity has been developed which should see a significant increase in training uptake during the remainder of 2009.”