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Monday, 11 March, 2002, 06:44 GMT
Helpline for depressed men
Depressed man - BBC image
Concerns have been raised about Scots suicide levels
A free helpline for young men suffering from depression is to be launched by the Scottish Executive.

The phoneline will aim to help overcome the "macho culture" which often leads to men bottling up their problems.

The executive has set aside 1.2m for the scheme, which will be launched in April.

It will primarily be aimed at men aged between 15 and 40 and counsellors will be available between the hours of 1800 and 0200 GMT, seven days a week.

Young man
Young men are a vulnerable group
An advertising campaign, which will include promotional beer mats as well as posters and radio adverts, is to be trialled in the Glasgow area.

According to statistics Scottish men and women are more likely to commit suicide linked to depression than people living south of the border.

More than 670 men committed suicide in Scotland in 2000, a figure which has risen by 250% in the past 20 years.

The number of men consulting their GPs about depression has risen by a third in the past five years to 45,000 annually.

The executive said the confidential helpline is designed to offer support at an earlier stage than other independent helpline services.

'Shocking and tragic'

It is expected to eventually become part of the NHS 24 advice service, which will be launched in the north-east of Scotland later this year.

Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm said: "The level of suicide and depression among young men in Scotland is both shocking and tragic.

"The reasons why so many young men feel the need to harm themselves are complex.

"That's why we need a broad range of support services to help young people before their mental health problems get out of control."

See also:

12 Feb 02 | Scotland
Under fours suffer depression
01 Nov 99 | Health
Depression defeating the medics
01 Nov 99 | Health
Tackling the depression epidemic
15 Jul 99 | Health
Happy crisps fight depression
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