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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 May, 2004, 05:42 GMT 06:42 UK
Call for full suicide inquiries
The group raised concern about the high male suicide rate
Fatal accident inquiry-style investigations should be launched into suicides in Scotland, campaigners have urged.

The call has been prompted by a spate of deaths in Inverness.

A support organisation has been launched after seven people committed suicide in the city in the last month.

The Highlands and Islands Support Group for Grieving Families said more investigation was needed to shed light on the problem.

It wants action to prevent more young men in particular killing themselves.

The majority of the cases were men in their early 40s.

Neil Gillies founded the support group last year in Dingwall, Ross-shire, after his son was killed by a car in 1999.

Exceptional circumstances

Mr Gillies said the bereaved families of the latest suicides wanted answers in the aftermath of the tragic events.

He said: "The only way we are going to get that and find out what is happening is by fatal accident inquiries, which the families are demanding now."

In Scotland, fatal accident inquiries into suspected suicides are only called in exceptional circumstances.

Neil Gillies
Mr Gillies says families need more answers
The support group said FAI-style inquiries should be carried out to establish the causes of death and identify any patterns of behaviour.

But some public health officials are not convinced a move towards an inquest system like in England would be the right way forward.

Cameron Stark, consultant in public health with NHS Highland, said: "There is work in England that over 40% of people bereaved by suicide experience problems with the coroner's inquiry system.

"Some detailed interviews indicate that many families feel they have been failed by the system."

Figures last year showed that young Scottish men are more likely to commit suicide than their English counterparts.

The Scottish Executive has said it plans to tackle the problem by addressing a lack of social support.

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11 Mar 02  |  Scotland

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