IT’S good to talk. That was the message that was repeated again and again during Radio Scotland’s Six Men (Wednesday and Thursday), a two-part very personal documentary on the subject of suicide from musician Gary Innes, more familiar as presenter of Take the Floor elsewhere on Radio Scotland’s schedule.

Innes has lost six team mates from his Fort William shinty club and his documentary, timed to coincide with World Suicide Awareness Day, spoke to members of their families and asked wider questions about why suicide was so prevalent in the Highlands and what can be done to tackle it.

Inevitably, the personal accounts of friends and families of the men were the most powerful and upsetting elements. Innes himself admitted they were “the most difficult conversations I’ve ever had.” But there were moments of humour too. One of the mothers was still driving around with her son’s “Sexy” numberplate on her car, which she admitted “is seriously sad at my age.” But it helped keep the memory of her son close.

Six Men raised wider questions, too, about how we need to change our idea of masculinity away from the “strong and stoic” model to a more open and emotionally eloquent one.

And it’s not impossible. Shetland once had the highest rate of male suicides in Scotland, but, following an intensive and very visible campaign to raise the awareness of mental health support, it is now the lowest.

Read More: Bank Holiday Britpop

Meanwhile, on Good Morning Scotland last Sunday, journalist Andrew Picken shadowed Crown Office investigators seeking to piece the life story of those who die alone without a will. It was a sorrowful account of life endings. Little splintered portraits of the deceased were spelt out in the things they left behind.

Picken accompanied a couple of investigators to the flat of a 67-year-old woman. They walked in to find cigarettes and a full cup of coffee. “It’s as though they’ve just got up and walked out,” one of the investigators suggested.

Listen Out For: Ramblings, Radio 4, Thursday, 3pm. Clare Balding’s latest fellow rambler is anthropologist and TV presenter Professor Alice Roberts.