New research shows the rising number of suicides in Northern Ireland may be linked to current economic conditions.

There were 291 deaths last year, nearly double the average of earlier years.

Areas like north Belfast and Laurelvale, Co Armagh have seen abnormally high levels of suicide deaths.

The suicides are being blamed on deprivation, lack of opportunity and copying friends and relatives who took their own lives.

The Northern Ireland Department of Health also found those living in violence-racked areas were more prone to depression.

Northern Ireland Minister for Health Michael McGimpsey recently announced a new Mental Health and Learning Disability Board of experts to address the issue.

The latest paper to the Suicide Strategy Implementation Board, 'The Trouble with Suicide', found that during the transition to peace, people are more likely to report depression.

It found that conflict-related trauma can have long-term physical and mental consequences and suicide rates have been associated with immediate and longer-term consequences of conflict.

It also stated that the Troubles affected the way suicide was reported and recorded, and limited public recognition of suicide and self-harming as serious public issues.

£3m has been allocated for implementing the Suicide Prevention Strategy this year.