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About Choose Life

On average, two people die from suicide in Scotland every day.

In 2002 Choose Life was launched, a ten-year national strategy and action plan from the Scottish Executive  (external link) to prevent suicide in Scotland. The target was to reduce the rate of suicide by 20% by 2013. Progress achieved towards this target can be viewed in statistics. In 2010 the Scottish Government published Refreshing the National Strategy and Action Plan (external link) which reflected the focus of the work over the next three years.

The Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy 2013-16” (external link) commits to continue with the objectives from the refresh of Choose Life in 2010 to :

  • identify and intervene to reduce suicidal behaviour in high risk groups
  • develop and implement a co-ordinated approach to reduce suicidal behaviour
  • ensure interventions to reduce suicidal behaviour are informed by evidence from research and evaluated appropriately
  • provide support to those affected by suicidal behaviour
  • provide education and training about suicidal behaviour and promote awareness about the help available
  • reduce availability and lethality of methods used in suicidal behaviour.

The strategy also focuses on 5 key themes of work in communities and services. 11 commitments are outlined to ensure the downward trend in scottish suicides continue and contribute to the delivery of the National Outcome to enable people to live longer healthier lives.

The five key themes on the new strategy are:

  • responding to people in distress
  • Talking about suicide
  • Improving the NHS response to suicide
  • Developing the evidence base
  • Supporting change and improvement

Overview of Suicide Prevention activities 

The strategy ensures action is taken nationally and locally to build skills through training, improve knowledge and awareness of good suicide prevention practice, and to encourage improved co-ordination between services. Alongside a coordinated training programme is a national media campaign (external link) aimed at raising suicide prevention awareness and reducing stigma around suicide. Each year there are awareness-raising events in Scotland about suicide and suicide prevention. 

Who is involved?

The responsibility for achieving these aims lies with both national and local organisations including the Scottish Government, NHS, local authorities and voluntary organisations. There is a national monitoring group that meets quarterly to monitor progress.


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