Data from National Records of Scotland (NRS) released today shows there were 805 deaths by suicide in Scotland in 2020, a slight decrease from 833 in 2019. 

Almost three quarters of deaths are male and the data demonstrates that existing inequalities endure.  Deprivation remains a significant risk factor, with deaths three and a half times higher in our most deprived compared to least deprived communities.

Claire Sweeney, Director of Place and Wellbeing at Public Health Scotland (PHS), said:

“The 805 people who have taken their own lives were loved and are missed. The number of people dying by suicide in Scotland remains worryingly high, indeed the highest rate of the four nations of the UK.

“These figures are a stark reminder of why PHS’s work in suicide prevention continues. As a member of the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group delivering Scotland’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan: Every Life Matters we provide expertise on the wider impact of inequalities on those with lived experience. Upcoming activity, United to Prevent Suicide, focuses on encouraging men to talk to family and friends if they are having thoughts of suicide and promotes where to go for help.

“We, along with our partners, will use today’s data to develop insight and understanding into the levels of suicide in our communities to ensure that mental health and wellbeing and suicide prevention efforts offer the people of Scotland the fullest opportunity to thrive.  This means ensuring people get the help they need, monitoring data, predicting risks and promoting initiatives that improve people’s wellbeing”.

Following the release of these figures the Scottish Public Health Observatory has published supporting information on the ScotPHO website (external website).

If you or anyone you know are experiencing thoughts of suicide please call Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 or Samaritans on 116123.

Last updated: 06 October 2022