There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people committing suicide in the Borders, figures released this week revealed.
In 2012, 17 men and six women took their own lives locally –five people up on the 2011 figure.
Last year’s total is the highest since at least 1974, which is as far back as the figures published by the National Records of Scotland go. The previous high was 22 deaths in 1992.
Allyson McCollam, SBC and NHS Borders’ joint head of health improvement, said: “It is recognised that suicide rates tend to fluctuate from one year to another. For this reason the five-year average rates are a more reliable gauge.
“The five-year rate for the Scottish Borders is now 18, a slight increase from 17 in the previous five-year period.”
She added: “That anyone dies through suicide is a tragedy for that person and for the family, friends and colleagues affected.
“A wide range of people from different services and community groups across the Borders are working together to raise awareness about suicide, to ensure we can identify situations where someone may be thinking about taking their own life and to help them get help and support.
“The activities planned for Suicide Prevention Week (September 9-14) are part of this joint effort.
“The key message is that family, friends and colleagues are often best placed to recognise signs of distress in someone and to be able to help.
It is better to ask and to encourage someone to talk than to explain away any signs of distress and to accept it when someone says things are okay.”
If you know someone you think needs help visit www.breathingspacescotland.co.uk/ or contact the Samaritans at www.samaritans.org/ or call 08457 90 90 90 (call charges apply).