About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) presents data on deaths due to probable suicides registered with the National Records of Scotland (NRS) during the nine-year period 2011 to 2019, with particular focus on contact with hospital and community health services.

Main points

  • During the period 2011-2019, 6,798 individuals aged 5+ years died from suicide in Scotland.
  • Suicide deaths were approximately three times more likely among those living in the most deprived areas than among those living in the least deprived areas.
  • Over three-quarters (77.3%) had contact with at least one linked healthcare service in the period prior to death.

Percentage of 2011-19 ScotSID cohort in contact with one or more healthcare services in the period before death

A bar chart showing the percentage of people who died by suicide from 2011 to 2019 who had contacted at least linked healthcare service in the period before death.  77.3% contacted linked healthcare services, while 22.7% had no contact.
  • Females were more likely to make contact with health care services (90%) than males (73%) in the period before their death.
  • Persons aged 25 and over were more likely to be in contact with healthcare services than younger age groups.
  • People who died by intentional self-harm were less likely to make contact with health services than those of an undetermined intent.
  • Contact with services varied considerably by method of suicide: people who died by 'poisoning' were more likely to make contact (88%), while those who died by 'firearm' and 'hanging/strangulation/suffocation' (58% and 71%, respectively) were less likely to make contact, than those who died by other methods.
  • Compared to the general population, people who died by suicide had more contact with each of the linked healthcare services. Psychiatric inpatient stays were 38 times more likely in the ScotSID cohort in the 12 months prior to suicide than in the general population over a similar time period.

Background

Established in 2009, the overall purpose of ScotSID is to provide a central repository for information on all probable suicide deaths in Scotland, in order to support epidemiology, policy-making and preventive activity. The database covers demographic information, contact with specified health services and related health data, and will eventually (through inclusion of information from other data sources) provide further details relating to the suicide event and the wider social circumstances of the deceased.

Linked information on prescriptions, A&E attendances, psychiatric outpatients, acute hospital inpatients, psychiatric hospital inpatients, contact with specialist drug treatment services, and Unscheduled Care Services were used in this release.

Further information

Open data from this publication is available from the Scottish Health and Social Care Open Data platform (external website).

The next release of this publication will be in mid-2023.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.mentalhealth@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 14 July 2021
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