Tack­ling sui­ci­dal poverty

The Scotsman - - Perspective -

That peo­ple liv­ing in Scot­land’s most de­prived com­mu­ni­ties are three times more likely to kill them­selves than the in­hab­i­tants of our wealth­i­est ar­eas may not be par­tic­u­larly sur­pris­ing.

But it would be wrong to re­spond to such news of hu­man suf­fer­ing and grief with a col­lec­tive shrug of the shoul­ders.

For too long, the res­i­dents of the sink es­tates of Glas­gow and Ed­in­burgh, in par­tic­u­lar, have been aban­doned by the rest of so­ci­ety and the aus­ter­ity of re­cent years has only added to their woes.

Ris­ing prices and rents, overly harsh ben­e­fit sanc­tions and the sharp prac­tice of gig-econ­omy em­ploy­ers are also as­pects of mod­ern life that can con­trib­ute to a sense of hope­less­ness and de­spair. Th­ese are dif­fi­cult prob­lems to ad­dress, but all of us owe a duty to our fel­low cit­i­zens to try.

It is sim­plis­tic to blame the Scottish Gov­ern­ment; min­is­ters have no magic wand to wave and throw­ing tax­pay­ers’ money at the sit­u­a­tion will not find a last­ing so­lu­tion by it­self. But, surely, if our best and bright­est put their minds to it, we could do bet­ter than this.

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