Concerns have been raised over the SNP Government’s failure to deliver a new suicide strategy, despite promising that it would be ready by the end of June.
It means Scotland has been without a suicide strategy for a year-and-a-half, with the previous plan running out in 2016.
Last month, then mental health minister Maureen Watt promised the vision would be published before July.
Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron has backed calls made by charities for a new national body to be created to drive forward change, and for increased support for bereaved families.
In addition, the Scottish Conservatives want to see more suicide prevention training for key staff.
The news comes as the most recent figures from the National Records of Scotland show that 58 people ended their life in the NHS Highlands area in 2017 – a five year record high.
Donald Cameron MSP said:
“It is disappointing that Scotland has been without a suicide prevention strategy for a year-and-a-half, particularly in light of the fact that the issue is growing in the Highlands.
Suicide remains a major killer in Scotland, and we know that issues such as loneliness and isolation can be a big factor in more rural and remote parts of Scotland.
That is why I am calling on the new mental health minister to make this an urgent priority.”