Money worries and unemployment caused by the outbreak of the recession are being blamed for an increase in the number of men taking their own lives.

A new study has revealed that the number of male suicides in Sussex increased during the beginning of the recession, while the number of female suicides dropped significantly.

The report by the University of Liverpool showed that there were 2% fewer male suicides between 2008 and 2010 in West Sussex – including Mid Sussex.

Some 123 cases were reported of men committing suicide. Female suicides decreased by 34% over the same period, with 42 deaths.

There were 74 male suicides in Brighton and Hove between 2008 and 2010 – a rise of 5% compared to the period 2005 to 2007.

For the same period there was a 41% drop in suicides by women down to just 23 between 2008 and 2010.

A similar pattern was seen in East Sussex where there was a 9% increase in male suicides but a 30% reduction in female suicides.

In 2008 to 2010 there were 109 male suicides and 38 female suicides in East Sussex compared to 99 male suicides and 56 female suicides in 2005 to 2007.

Miranda Frost is a director of Grassroots Training and a member of Brighton and Hove’s suicide prevention strategy group.

She said: “Men have higher rates of other risk factors associated with suicide than women, for example they are less likely to seek help from professionals, friends and family.

“Men are also more likely to have higher rates of alcohol and drug misuse and poorer physical health than women.

“It is too early to say what the 2011-2012 statistics will bring but there is general evidence to suggest that the recession will result in an increase in suicide rates.”

Brighton and Hove director of public health Tom Scanlon said that studies on the impact of the Great Depression in Brighton and Hove and research from around the globe indicated that recessions corresponded with an increase in suicides.