South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has highlighted the importance of services such Samaritans and Breathing Space, following the publication of suicide figures.

The number of suicides in Scotland decreased by 3% last year, according to National Records of Scotland (NRS) data which shows there were 805 probable suicides in Scotland in 2020 – down from 833 in 2019.

Men accounted for 71% of suicides in 2020, with deprived areas of the country experiencing the highest rates.

The suicide rate in Scotland’s most deprived areas is three times the rate in wealthy areas.

Colin Smyth said: “A loss of life is a tragedy and my thoughts are with those who are mourning a loved one.

“We know that the pandemic has led to a sharp rise in mental health issues and that those needing treatment have faced long waits, however, it is important to remember that there are many reasons which may contribute to someone taking their own life.

“Ultimately, behind every figure is a tragic story of someone who has lost their life and a family who has lost a loved one.

“The large proportion of young men taking their own lives is of particular concern to me, as is the news that the highest rates are in our most deprived areas.

“As politicians we must try and work together to make life better for people all over Scotland and in particular, those in our most deprived areas.

“Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans free any time on 116 123 or email: or visit to find details of your nearest branch.

“Breathing Space also has a helpline which is 0800 83 85 87.”

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