There is evidence that Polish migrants to the UK may be at increased risk of suicidal behaviour compared with the British population (1). In 2016, the Polish Consulate in Scotland established a group to investigate the number of Polish people who had completed suicide in Scotland. While it has a role in investigating deaths in Polish nationals in Scotland, the Consulate could not accurately assess the scale of the problem, as Police Scotland contacted them only when they had difficulty in identifying the deceased person’s next of kin. There was anecdotal evidence and concern that the rate of suicide amongst the Polish population in Scotland was high and therefore needed investigation.
The group established was a partnership of local and national organisations with knowledge and expertise in data analysis, trends, and in the circumstances within the Polish communities and families who live in Scotland. The work was facilitated by Feniks, a charity working with the Central and Eastern European community in Edinburgh. The first meeting was in February 2016, and initially had representation from the Polish Consul, Police Scotland and Feniks. The group quickly realised that Police Scotland, the Crown Office and the Scottish Suicide Information Database (ScotSID) did not hold information about nationality. Some raw data was retrieved from the National Records Scotland at this time, but as they were not age standardised and the denominator populations unknown, the figures were difficult to interpret.