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Research published by the University of Ulster has revealed that men in Northern Ireland are less likely than women to proactively seek support from health services prior to suicide.

The research was led by the university’s Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeingand was announced on World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September 2014. The specialist centre at the university has found higher incidences of death by suicide in men versus women, along with a reluctance of men to engage with health services. This could be closely linked to men’s hesitance to recognise and disclose mental health difficulties.

Lead researcher, Professor Siobhan O’Neill from the university’s Bamford Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing said: “This is the first time that research linking suicide, gender and the use of health services has taken place in Northern Ireland. The results highlight a worrying trend when it comes to men’s openness to discussing mental health and importantly to seek help for suicidal thoughts. The University of Ulster research suggests that this could be because most men view their problems as related to negative life events and failures rather than actual mental ill health.

“All partners must work together to remove the social stigma attached to mental illness, particularly among men as the research suggests. It is vital that healthcare professionals consider ways to encourage men to engage with services and suicide prevention programmes which play an important role in timely identification and treatment for those most at risk of suicide.”

The full report can be viewed online at