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New York to create Russian-language suicide prevention kit

New York state will have a Russian-language suicide prevention kit.

The state Office of Mental Health introduced a Chinese-language Suicide Prevention, Education and Awareness Kit last year and also offers it in Spanish and English. The office is developing one in Creole for the Haitian community, said Jill Daniels, an OMH spokeswoman.

Daniels said the five languages are ones for which the agency gets the most requests.

OMH did not have statistics on suicide rates for the various groups.

Daniels said the kits were not being offered because of a higher preponderance of suicides among those ethnic groups. "We're trying to make it available to all communities in their own languages," she said.

Pat Singer of the Brighton Neighborhood Association, which provides social and quality of life services to the Russian population in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach area, said that in her 30 years as founder and executive director she had never been aware of a suicide.

Alcoholism and smoking are very evident among the population, she said, as is some depression among the middle-aged. Her clients tend to be emotional "but not to the point of killing themselves," Singer added. "They're survivors. They're a tough group of people."

Deaths by suicide, both in New York state and nationally, outnumber deaths by homicide, the OMH said. About 1,300 New Yorkers take their own lives each year.

Nationally, it suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for all Americans, it said.

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