ACTION to prevent an increase in suicide among men is needed according to a leading expert.

Suicide rates among men have increased in Glasgow after years of decline leading to health professionals and academics studying the patterns to call for improved services and a shift in public attitudes.

Last year in the city there were 99 recorded suicides which is a 12% increase but still far lower than in 2000 when there were 160.

Men are most at risk accounting for three out of four suicide and particularly in the more deprived areas of the city.

The Scottish increase is higher among younger men at 50% compared to a 15% rise nationwide.

Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day a renowned Glasgow based academic has called for people to be more open about speaking about suicide.

Professor Rory O’Connor from Glasgow University said

He said: “We need to look at the wider impact of austerity and why young people in particular.

“Glasgow has seen a decrease over recent years but in areas of disadvantage we see higher rates of suicide.

“Prevention is a public health priority. We need to tackle inequality first.”

He said there are various factors that contribute to someone feeling suicidal

Prof O’Connor added: “People feel trapped, could be by social circumstances and can’t see a way out. Alcohol is complicated and can increase risk.

“If you experience early life trauma you are more likely to be at risk of suicide.”

He said suicide is the leading cause of death for men aged under 50 in the UK.

Male attitudes and expectations men have on themselves play a part in the figures.

Prof O’Connor added: “Then there is the role of masculinity. Men are more likely to feel they have failed loved ones and not been able to provide for loved ones.

“Relationship breakdown is a cause and men often have smaller networks for external support, they are more isolated.”

He said that while there are efforts being made to improve services there needs to be a greater urgency in getting people into treatment.

He said: “In Scotland we should be doing more to tackle stigma around mental health.

“If its men in crisis we include men in planning.

“The bigger barrier is if you present to a GP there are waiting lists. We have to tackle the waiting lists.

Professor O’Connor has been studying suicide and its causes for around 20 years.

Suicide has a personal importance to Prof O'Connor having lost two people he loved.

He said: “Stereotypes are wrong and contributing to the problem. We are trying to encourage help seeking, talk about mental health. We haven’t done enough.

He said: “If you are concerned about a friend or family member always ask the question.

“There’s no risk to asking someone if they are suicidal, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

There is hope even if you are in the depths of despair.

“We know they will end then come and go.

“Please contact someone you can trust.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to work together. Suicide is not about being selfish.”