SUICIDE figures in Ayrshire and Arran for the last five years have been the lowest since 1982.

The new numbers show suicide rates in five year increments, with 217 people taking their own lives from 2012 to 2017.

From 1997 to 2001 saw 325 people take their own lives and the decrease has been steady, 2002 to 2006 was 252 and 2007 to 2011 was 246.

The 217 made up of 171 men and 46 women.

This is the lowest ever figure for women, with an all time high between 1992 to 1996 of 84.

The male suicide rate has decreased 9 per cent from 182 to 171.

North Ayrshire and Arran’s 217 deaths in the last five years was the same figure accrued by the Forth Valley NHS board in the same time. Greater Glasgow and Clyde had the largest number of deaths with 758.

MSP Jamie Greene welcomed a reduction in suicide rates in Ayrshire and Arran but still said there was a long way to go in tackling this issue.

These figures from ISD Scotland also showed that across Scotland suicide rates had risen by 8 per cent in four years.

Jamie Greene MSP said: “The drop in suicide rates in Ayrshire and Arran is certainly welcome however, I have always taken the view that one suicide is one too many.

“It is right that we properly reflect on the difficult situations people sometimes find themselves in that can lead them to take their own lives.

“We must continue to do all we can to bring this number as closer to zero as possible, “The fact across Scotland there has been such a notable increase should focus minds right across the board.”