POLISH men living in Scotland are twice as likely as other men to take their own lives according to a report which warns that there is a "cultural reluctance" to seek help for mental health problems.

The first official investigation into the issue found that the suicide rate among Polish men in Scotland is 94% higher than for Scottish men amid problems including job insecurity.

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The report, which was commissioned by the Polish Consulate in Scotland, found that Polish immigrants who took their own lives were often in "unsteady" jobs or had recently been made redundant.

Polish men struggling with depression, anxiety or other psychiatric difficulties were also fearful of speaking to doctors due to "potential stigma within the Polish community" or "a worry that mental illness could have consequences for working and living in Scotland", said the report.

Of the 68 suicides in total recorded between 2012 and 2016 among Scotland's Polish community, 24 were among individuals who were unemployed.

This included six people who had lost their jobs shortly before ending their lives, and one who had had their benefits cut.

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The report, which was carried out by researchers at NHS Lothian, the Scottish Public Health Network (ScotPHN) and Feniks, a counselling charity which supports the Central Eastern European community in Edinburgh and Scotland, states: "It is significant that such a high proportion of the deaths were in the unemployed.

"Within Polish culture, it is the norm to adopt a strong work ethic and to be unemployed brings not only a reduced income but a loss of identity and status. This effect may be exaggerated in migrants who feel the need to succeed keenly."

Between 2012 and 2016, 58 Polish men and 10 Polish women in Scotland ended their lives, mostly by hanging or drug overdoses. It also included one case where a Polish woman set herself on fire.

On average, the suicide rate for Polish-born men living in Scotland between 2012-2016 was 37.7 per 100,000 compared to 19.4 per 100,000 for the Scottish male population.

This is in line with patterns experienced in Poland, which in common with other post-Soviet block nations has one of the highest suicide rates in Europe.

However, the overall suicide rate among male and female Polish residents in Scotland - at 21.6 per 100,000 - was slightly higher than in Poland, where it was 20.8 per 100,000.

Magda Czarnecka, a project development manager at Feniks, said the figures did not surprise her. She added: "There is something about the culture and the expectations we have towards men.

"There is a bit of the 'macho' culture that you also see in Scotland - that you have to be tough, to be a 'provider'. But there are aspects of the migration experience that make the situation worse for Polish people here than in Poland."

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Of the 44 employed Polish people in Scotland who took their lives between 2012 and 2016, 32 were in shift, seasonal or manual work.

The report adds: "Shift work in particular is becoming more associated with poor mental health, depression and suicide.

"Some individuals were employed in more than one job simultaneously, with one report noting that the deceased had worked seven days per week.

"Several of the reports about individuals mention injury or illness, which can be particularly challenging for those employed in manual labour."

Nick Jedrzejewski, spokesman for See Me, which campaigns to end mental health discrimination, said: “It’s worrying to see the high suicide rate among the male Polish community in Scotland.

“There are a number of possible reasons for this, including the social isolation that comes from being far away from family and friends, difficulties with employability, a language barrier and misunderstanding of the country’s health care system.

“Another big reason is stigma and discrimination, which stops people speaking out and seeking help. Self-stigma in men is particularly high, they worry about being judged if they say they are struggling, which stops them asking for help.

“A lack of open discussions can create self-stigma which can lead to people withdrawing and reaching a point of desperation.

"In a culture where men don’t speak openly about how they are feeling, this is even worse."