The number of unexpected deaths among mental health patients have risen by more than 20 per cent over the last three years.

The number of mental health related deaths rose from 1,412 to 1,713, including 751 suicide cases – an increase of 26 per cent.

“These figures involve tragedies for families around the country and he human impact is intense,” said former Lib Dem mental health minister Norman Lamb.

Mr Lamb has called for a government inquiry into the problem, as issues such as depression, low-self esteem and suicide continue to rise in the gay community.

A recent survey found that 24% of gay men admitted to trying to kill themselves, while 54% admitted to having suicidal thoughts.

A further 70% said low self-esteem was the main reason for their depression and suicidal thoughts.

Other factors included relationship issues (56%), isolation (53%), not feeling attractive (49%).

These stresses were often directly related to their sexuality, with 41% of gay men saying that it contributed to their poor mental or emotional health.

27% cited homophobic bullying; 22% mentioned struggling to come out and 21% said that rejection by their family had also been a factor.

The survey also found that gay men who are diagnosed with HIV experience high rates of depression and suicidal thoughts.

In October, campaigner Jonny Benjamin criticised the government’s current mental health legislation ahead of World Mental Health Day.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews, he said: “I’ve yet to hear one positive story regarding the government’s current treatment of mental health patients.

“Nothing is being done to tackle the issue – its as if mental health patients are invisible.”

Suicide remains the most common cause of death in men under the age of 35 in the UK – ahead of cancer and car accidents – with men three times as likely as British women to die by suicide.

Benjamin said that this statistic is growing – and that gay men are sometimes at the most at risk.

Earlier this week, Years & Years singer Olly Alexander opened up about getting mental health treatment – and how being in denial about his sexuality impacted him.

The 25-year-old singer, who is openly gay, revealed last month he suffers from anxiety and depression.