News and opinion Our News SiMS Joins New Group to Help Prevent Suicide Lived experience panel announced. People affected by suicide will join a new panel to inform and educate on the ways to prevent suicide. The panel will be made up of those who have previously attempted suicide or who have experienced suicidal thoughts and those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Their personal experience will help support the Scottish Government’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group. The recruitment of the panel will be a collaboration between mental health charities including SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), Support in Mind, Samaritans and Penumbra. Announcing the panel on World Suicide Prevention Day, Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “Every life matters and no death by suicide should be regarded as either acceptable or inevitable. This is why the new lived experience panel will have a pivotal role in helping to inform and shape our action plan. “On World Suicide Prevention Day it is important that we raise awareness and promote more understanding of suicide in our society. It is our goal to live in a country where suicide is preventable, where help and support is available to everyone contemplating suicide or to people who have lost a loved one to suicide. “Over the past decade we have made real progress in reducing deaths by suicide but we have more to do. We are addressing the stigma associated with suicide and encouraging more people to talk.” SAMH Chief Executive Billy Watson said: “SAMH has a long history of supporting people and families affected by suicide. We’ve campaigned vigorously to ensure anyone affected by suicide can get effective support now and in the future, and we believe that services which are shaped by the people who use them will deliver the best results. That’s why we’re so pleased to be supporting the development of a Lived Experience Panel. “It’s a great opportunity for people who want to help make a difference to thousands of people’s lives. The panel should be a true representation of our society, so I encourage those from all backgrounds to join us and help make a difference that we can all be proud of.” COSLA Health and Social Care Spokesperson Councillor Peter Johnston said: “We wholeheartedly welcome the views and participation of the Lived Experience Panel into the work of the Suicide Prevention Leadership Group. We know that making a difference locally means involving people with experience and knowledge of the subject and COSLA believes that this new development will ensure our work on local suicide prevention plans will be more informed and better focused on the people involved.” Background The National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group (NSPLG) has been established to help drive implementation of the Scottish Government’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan (2018), which sets out a target to further reduce the rate of suicide by 20% by 2022. Membership of the NSPLG includes: third sector; Local Authority delivery partners; NHS; COSLA; Health and Social Care Partnerships; Criminal Justice sector; Clinical practitioners; and individuals with lived experience of the impact of suicide. World Suicide Prevention Day is marked on 10 September. Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for more than 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds. The International Association for Suicide Prevention organises the day and has chosen ‘Working Together To Prevent Suicide’ as the theme for the past two years.