Churches Concerned as Scotland Hits Highest Suicide Rate in UK

|TOP|The Catholic Church in Scotland has recommended that the government should stop indulging in the growing culture of materialism, following the release of figures showing that Scotland has the highest rate of suicide in the whole of the UK.

According to figures released by the Office for National Statistics, the suicide rate among Scottish men between 1991 and 2004 was 50 percent higher than amongst the rest of the UK.

The suicide rate among Scottish men for the assessed period was 30 per 100,000 compared with 22.4 in Wales, 18.3 in Northern Ireland and 16.7 in England. For Scots women the rate was 10 per 100,000 compared with 5.4 in England.

"Although the church is not in a position to speak regarding the sociological difference between the figures it can be said that the materialistic culture that rejects God always leads to emptiness and despair," said a spokesman for the Scottish Catholic Media Office Simon Dames.

"That gap within each and everyone of us can only be filled by God and God alone. Until individuals, society and governments realise there will always be a moving of the deck-chairs as the titanic sinks."

|AD|The report indicated that the highest rate of suicide in the UK was recorded in Shetland. But Lerwick parish priest and spokesman for the Diocese of Aberdeen Fr Paul Bonnici said that there were several contributory factors to consider.

"There are a number of issues to consider," he said.

"One is the remoteness of the island from the mainland, and the nearest places – which is Norway."

He added: "I imagine that some of it is also drink related as well. This is an issue of pastoral concern for us in the church and indeed for all churches and a lot of people in the medical profession.

"Also, the long dark winters here can affect people with an amount of depression.

“We in the church need to keep proclaiming the good news of Christ, which in the end provides the ultimate hope for people.”

In addition, the report said the UK suicide rate peaked in 1998 and has since fallen, while the suicide rate for women remained stable between 1991 and 2004.