The number of deaths in Scotland by suicide rose by 14 per cent last year, figures have revealed.

According to statistics from the Scottish Public Health Observatory, 784 Scots took their own lives in 2018 compared to 680 in the previous year.

There was also a concerning rise in the number of people committing suicide under the age of 25, now at its highest annual rate since 2007.

Read more: Bus driver caught on mobile phone with no hands on the wheel

James Jopling, executive director of Samaritans Scotland, said: “Preventing suicide requires an ambitious and coordinated public health approach to address these issues, and Scotland’s new public health body, due to be established in 2020 must make suicide prevention a priority.”

Mental health charity SAMH described the figures as “devastating”.

Billy Watson, SAMH chief executive, said: “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.

“It is devastating news that significantly more people died by suicide in Scotland last year than in the year before.”