ALMOST twice as many people died from suicide in Argyll and Bute in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to new statistics.

Figures released last week by the Scottish Public Health Observatory revealed that 18 people took their own lives in the area in 2018, compared to 11 in 2017.

The number of males, 14, was double the total from the preceding 12 months.

A spokesman for the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) said: “The prevention of suicide remains a national and local priority across the country.

“Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership recognises the serious impact that suicide has across our communities and for the families concerned.

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“We are heavily involved in suicide prevention activities and work closely with our partners, such as police and fire and rescue, as well as carrying out training for front line staff across the HSCP.

“Finally, we would remind people that support is out there.”

There have been 60 deaths from suicide in Argyll and Bute over the past five years, according to the statistics, 65 per cent of which were male.

Last year’s Argyll and Bute total is the local authority’s highest level since 2011 (see chart below), when the National Records for Scotland (NRS) changed the coding used to record certain causes of death.

The suicide rate in Scotland increased by 14 per cent from 2017 to 2018, rising from 680 to 784, with the rate among young people under the age of 25 at its highest annual level since 2007.

Billy Watson, chief executive of the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), said: “After a number of years in which we saw an overall downward trend, it is devastating news that significantly more people died by suicide in Scotland last year than in the year before.

“These figures show we must redouble our efforts as a nation to deepen our understanding of the causes of suicide, so we can help everyone who needs it.

“At SAMH we are committed to playing our part in this.”

James Jopling, executive director of Samaritans Scotland, said: “It is deeply concerning to see the number of people dying by suicide in Scotland increase in 2018.

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“Each one of those 784 deaths represents a devastating loss with far-reaching consequences for families, friends and communities.

“We’re particularly concerned to see the suicide rate for under-25s increase to the highest annual rate since 2007.

“After years of steady progress, this should serve as a stark reminder that further action is needed to better understand and address all the factors that contribute to suicide - particularly among young people.

“It’s vital that young people don’t come to see suicide as an escape from their struggles and that we seek to address the very real factors which shape their lives.

“Suicide is preventable. And that means not just looking at access to mental health services, but also at how money worries, job insecurity, experiences of loneliness and disconnectedness can impact young people’s wellbeing.”

For advice and support, visit or call 0800 83 85 87, or contact the Samaritans at or on 116 123.