Twenty five people in North Ayrshire took their own life last year.

Latest figures show that 18 males and seven females committed suicide in North Ayrshire in 2017 – with a rise of four deaths from the previous year.

The latest statistics, released by the Scottish Public Health Observatory last week, show a total of 46 deaths from suicide across Ayrshire and Arran last year.

Of these deaths 37 were male with nine female.

NHS Scotland say men are now even more likely than women to take their own lives than last year – while Independent Cllr Donald L Reid told last week’s Full Council Meeting, that suicide was now the leading cause of death for men under 50.

He said: “The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations advise that some 728 people took their own lives Scotland in 2017 – 75 per cent of whom were male.

“Can the Cabinet Member provide details of the number of suicides in North Ayrshire in 2017, or 2016 if figures are not available, and if practicable give a breakdown by age and sex; and give brief details of any current or planned initiatives to combat the number of suicides in North Ayrshire.”

Reading figures for 2016, Cabinet member for Health and Social Care Robert Foster said: “In 2016 there were 47 across Ayrshire and Arran as a whole, in North Ayrshire there were 21 deaths, 15 males and six females. The youngest was 18 and the oldest was 79 years of age. Most were between 36 and 55 years of age.”

“The suicide rates generally increase with increasing deprivation. In 2016 the suicide rate for males was more than two and a half times that of females.”

He added that a new National Suicide Prevention Strategy is under consultation to be produced later this year and highlighted various NAC initiatives taken to help prevent suicide.