The number of probable deaths by suicide in West Dunbartonshire has reached its highest for over a decade, according to new figures.

Annual figures released by the National Records of Scotland showed there were 18 probable suicides recorded across the region in 2021, a rise of one from 2020.

But the number is the highest since 2011 when the records show there were 23 deaths by probable suicide.

Nationwide, there were 753 probable suicides in 2021, a decrease of 52 (six per cent) from 2020, with the rate amongst males 3.2 higher than the rate for females.

Julie Ramsay, head of Vital Events Statistics, said: “The number of people dying from suicide fell to its lowest level since 2017.

"The decrease in the most recent year was mainly driven by a fall in the number of female suicides.”

After adjusting for age, the rate of suicide in the most deprived areas in Scotland was nearly three times as high as in the least deprived areas in Scotland, a wider gap than deaths from all causes.

At health board level, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde recorded one less probable suicide death, with 177 compared to 178.

Mental wellbeing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Every death by suicide is a tragedy for the loved ones left behind and, while the number of deaths has dropped in recent years, I remain committed to reducing suicide and providing support for those who are affected by this heartbreak.

“We provide annual funding of £300,000 to Public Health Scotland to provide support for local suicide prevention work, which helps communities implement local suicide prevention action plans.


Call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or call Breathing Space on 0800 838587.


“Our ambition is to get everyone working together to prevent suicide which is why we have been engaging with those affected to publish a prevention strategy for Scotland next month. This will set out how the Government, partners and local communities can come together to help prevent future suicides.

“It is important that people know there is help available if they are feeling suicidal. Anyone in need of support should contact their GP or call the NHS 24 helpline. Support can also be found online, through NHS Inform, and on the Samaritans and Breathing Space websites.”

Ongoing tragedy

Dr David Hall, suicide prevention lead at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said: “While there is some reason for optimism here – the figures for older males are concerning. It’s clear there’s still much work to do. The new Suicide Prevention Strategy and Action Plan due to be published soon, must be across all age groups.”

Samaritans Scotland, the country’s leading suicide prevention charity, recently launched a new strategy to reduce lives lost to suicide. It believes the data shows a need for more resources to support suicide prevention in Scotland – and to act on those factors that may cause distress or which might contribute to someone being at risk of suicide.

Danielle Rowley, Samaritans Scotland’s influencing manager, said: “Those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas remain three times more likely to die by suicide than those in more affluent areas, and men continue to account for most deaths. This data, and Samaritans’ own research, suggests reaching out to men from lower-income areas - who are at the highest risk of suicide - must be a major focus of preventing suicide in Scotland.

“Suicide is complex and there is no single reason why someone may take their own life. However, by ensuring there is a range of support available to those who are struggling - and working to address inequalities in our society - these numbers can be reduced further.

“We receive a call to Samaritans’ helpline every ten seconds. It reminds us why we continue not only to be there 24/7 for anyone who needs a listening ear, but also to make real and lasting change to achieve our vision for a Scotland where fewer lives are lost to, and devastated by, suicide."