THE surprise which greeted the Scottish Government’s suicide prevention plan was due to the fact that this limited offering was two years in the making.

The last suicide prevention plan ran out in 2016 and momentum – and funding – for key initiatives have faltered.

To be fair to mental health minister Maureen Watt, what she published last week was only a draft. So why was the document oversold with the bold heading “Stronger suicide prevention”.

The plan featured one concrete pledge – workplace training in suicide prevention – amid commitments to better communication, more research and more use social media.

But charities, suicide experts in academia and those working in mental health were all expecting more.

It is also strange the Scottish Government should highlight its intention to consult people affected by suicide. “We must do everything we can to prevent it. This includes ... listening to people with lived experience,” Ms Watt said.

So what happened to the six events the length and breadth of Scotland, which the government asked Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland to run at the end of last year? Ministers already know their recommendations. Families called, for example, for targeted training of front line public servants. They asked for better support and sooner for those who are depressed or self harming, and those who have been bereaved. They suggested better post-crisis support for people who attempt suicide. Counselling and lessons in emotional literacy in schools. Above all, long-term, consistent funding for mental health on a par with that for physical health.

The consultation means detail can still be added in. What else should a plan include?No one service can take responsibility for suicide prevention and there is much talk about a community-based response, but what does that mean in practice?

It needs to address the proven link between childhood trauma and suicidal thoughts and attempts. And more can be done about known ‘locations of concern’ – like the suicide prevention work done at the Erskine Bridge.

We need to focus help on those most at risk: men in deprived areas and people going through relationship breakdown for instance. And the plan must look beyond mental health services. One of the most ways of helping young people achieve good mental health is quality youth work and we need more.

We could also do worse than look at the zero suicide approach, used to great success in Philadelphia and recently adopted on Merseyside. There is nothing wrong with a little ambition.