|Suicidal people 'need better care'|
|Written by The Editorial Team|
|Thursday, 19 July 2012|
Better services for people with suicidal feelings have been demanded by mental health campaigners, as a TV programme suggests the problem is much greater than previously thought.
The BBC Scotland investigation, being screened tonight, was given access to a police study in which information about every attempted or threatened suicide was compiled.
The project by Tayside Police revealed that while the area has an average of four suicides a month, there can be as many as 150 suicide-related incidents over the same period. One child as young as nine was deemed to be at risk of taking their own life.
Detective Chief Inspector Gordon Milne told the programme that the findings are a wake-up call for organisations who work with vulnerable people.
He said of the figures: "Extend that out across the whole of Scotland; there is a significant number of calls every day, every week, every month, every year, involving people who are in mental health crisis.
"It is a significant issue and I think it's a significant issue not only for the police and the other emergency services but for society in general. This would appear to be the first time that we've actually measured in its true sense what impact this is having."
The programme, entitled Scotland's Silent Deaths, heard concerns that there are not enough services in place to help those who are suicidal.
It is claimed that, in some cases, police have no option but to arrest those in trouble and lock them up in a cell for their own safety, as a last resort.
Mental health charity SAMH called for more dedicated services to help those in crisis, in the wake of the programme's findings. It said there is no clear route for people who are suicidal to get help.
Kirsty Keay, the charity's national programme manager for suicide prevention, said: "Suicide devastates Scotland's communities and there is clearly a gap in the services that are available."