Shock new figures showing a 160% rise in suicide by children have laid bare the scale of Scotland’s mental health crisis.

Statistics released by the Government reveal an increase in the number of under 18s taking their own lives, fuelling calls for bold action.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon: “It is tragic and deeply worrying that so many children and young people have ended their lives in Scotland in recent years. Specialist youth mental health services are badly under-resourced.”

The NHS recently revealed 784 probable suicides in 2018 - a 15% rise compared to the previous years.

In the same twelve month period, suicides among those in the 15-24 age category soared by 50%.

However, these were one year figures and new data published this week drills down even further.

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In 2014, ten under 18s completed suicide, but the total has steadily climbed and reached 26 in 2018 - a five year high.

The same information shows a near 25% rise between 2014 and 2018 in suicide among 18-24 year olds, from 59 to 75.

It comes after a Glasgow University study found that one in nine young people in Scotland have attempted suicide and one is six has self-harmed.

In June, it also emerged that the number of young people waiting more than a year for a specialist mental health service had more than trebled within 12 monthS.

Nearly 120 children and young people waited more than 53 weeks to be seen in the first three months of 2019.

Lennon added: “SNP Ministers have been warned repeatedly that vulnerable young people are falling through the cracks.

"Nicola Sturgeon’s government has made good commitments on mental health and suicide prevention; however, warm words are meaningless if education, youth services and the NHS are not getting enough investment.”

Scottish Greens MSP Alison Johnstone said: “It’s absolutely distressing to see suicide among young people at its highest level in five years. Each of these deaths has had a devastating impact on others and the wider community.

"For all the rhetoric on this, we still haven’t shifted the conversation enough onto prevention. The figures on self-harm should act as a warning sign, and we clearly need more early interventions, which would also reduce the pressure on acute services too.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “It’s heartbreaking when anyone takes their own life.

“We are working tirelessly with partners to improve mental health services for young people, including those who have considered suicide or been bereaved by it. It is an area that the National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group is focusing on and we are working with COSLA to implement their recommendations.

“We are developing new community wellbeing support services, which will initially be for five to 25 year olds.

“Actions to improve peer support in schools and teacher training are being worked on, along with 24/7 crisis support for children and young people and their families.

“We are also investing in mental health support for students. That will see over 80 additional counsellors in further and higher education over next four years, with £20 million investment.”