THE NUMBER of probable suicides registered in Scotland fell to its lowest level since 2017 last year, according to new statistics published this morning.

However, the report from the National Records of Scotland also revealed that Scotland continues to have the highest rate of suicide of all countries in the UK.

In 2020 - the last year when there were comparable figures for all four nations - there were 14.8 deaths per 100,000 here, compared to 13.3 in Northern Ireland, and a rate of 10.3 in Wales and 10 in England.

Last year, 753 people in Scotland died by suicide, down from 805. 

The decrease is driven by a significant drop in the number of women taking their own lives, down by 42, around 18 per cent. 

However, the report also showed that the gap between the most deprived and least deprived areas of the country persists, with the suicide rate over three times higher in Scotland’s poorest areas. 

Three-quarters of those, 565, who died were men.

While there have been falls in most age groups, the figures show that the rate for age 45-64 has been fairly consistent over time, with 200 people dying last year, compared to 209 the year before. 

The figures also show that the rate was higher than the Scottish average in the Highland, Dundee City, East Ayrshire and Glasgow City council areas.

Responding to the statistics, 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.

“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.”

When life is difficult, Samaritans are here – day or night, 365 days a year. You can call them for free on 116 123, email them at, or visit to find your nearest branch.