RURAL COMMUNITIES in the Scottish Highlands and Islands are calling for an inquiry after an unprecedented number of suicides this year.

The Highlands and Islands Support Group for Grieving Families says that in the past two weeks, seven suicides have occurred in the Inverness area.

On a wider level, the Highlands and Islands have seen 26 deaths since the beginning of 2004.

Neil Gillies, founder of the group, said: “The only way we are going to find out what is happening is by fatal accident inquiries, which the families are demanding now.”

“It is quite shocking there is no support group already established in Inverness. There is nowhere for people to turn.”

The suicides are understood to be increasing, with pressure groups attributing the deaths to higher unemployment, with rural communities working in isolation.