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Water-based suicide

As highlighted in Scotland’s Drowning Prevention Strategy, on average 29 people take their own life in water-related suicides each year in Scotland. Recently published data from the Water Incident Database (WAID) indicates an increase in this average. One of Water Safety Scotland’s key targets is to contribute to the reduction of water-related suicide.

Scotland has a suicide prevention strategy entitled; 'Creating Hope Together: suicide prevention strategy 2022 to 2032'. Its vision is to reduce the number of suicide deaths in Scotland, whilst tackling the inequalities which contribute to suicide. The strategy is the responsibility of both Scottish Government and COSLA.

Other guidance documents in Scotland include: ·


Suicide is preventable and Water Safety Scotland wants to raise awareness of misconceptions and myths surrounding suicide to help overcome stigma and inaccurate stereotypes.

Common misconceptions about suicide are:

  • If someone is talking about completing suicide, they are not serious about it
  • Suicide can’t be prevented
  • People who are suicidal are also mentally ill
  • Suicidal thoughts mean that person wants to complete suicide
  • If I talk about suicide, it will make people more likely to complete suicide
  • Suicides only happen during the winter
  • People who are suicidal are just attention seeking

Below you can find various links to partner organisations which discuss these misconceptions and myths in detail.


change logo link

Link to the Change Mental Health website

samaritans logo link

Link to the Samaritans website

Link to the Breathing Space website

Link to the NHS 24 mental health hub


You can also call Breathing Space which is Scotland’s mental health helpline for those experiencing low mood, anxiety and depression. It offers free advice for those over the age of 16.

Call 0800 83 85 87, 6pm to 2am Monday to Thursday; and from 6pm Friday throughout the weekend to 6am Monday.

Or you can call NHS 24 mental health hub. Support can be obtained by phoning 111. The Hub is open 24/7.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a serious mental health crisis please call 999 and ask for help.

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