IN FIVE years, 75 people have died by suicide in the southern New England region.
Taking in Armidale, Tamworth, Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains local government areas, 60 men and 15 women took their own lives.
That means 80 per cent of suicide deaths in those areas were local men.
The statistics were released last week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) in a report looking at the leading causes of death for Australians by local government area from 2014 to 2018.
Suicide ranked overall as the 15th most common cause of death for Armidale locals, but for men, it came in at number 11.
St Vincent de Paul Society North West regional director Phil Donnan said it's important to remember there are real people behind every number.
"That's the tragic thing about suicide - it's someone with family and friends, work mates, peers and it impacts a whole bunch of people," he said.
Mr Donnan said there is a social expectation on men in particular, to not show vulnerability.
He said it's up to the wider community to look out for other people, and reach out to them.
"Within society we have people who may feel isolated even when surrounded by people, so reach out to the people they haven't spoken to for a while," he said.
"If someone is struggling they might not communicate it, so it's up to you to take the initiative to reach out."
Mr Donnan said he believes the AIHW data for those five years could be partially a reflection of the devastating affect the prolonged drought has had on mental health.
He said he hopes the COVID-19 impact doesn't translate into increased suicide numbers in future reports, but said there is an increased risk as people face greater isolation.