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Thursday, 12 October, 2000, 00:00 GMT 01:00 UK
Asian women in suicide risk
Asian women
Asian women are three times more likely to commit suicide
Asian women are three times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population.

Studies have shown that while younger Asian women are at particular risk rates are high in all age groups.

Researchers have suggested that this could be due to a number of factors including family problems, social isolation and racism.

The figures have prompted one trust to launch a project aimed at highlighting the problem within the Asian community.

Northern Birmingham Mental Health Trust has produced a video to educate Asian women on the risks.

The video was produced after it was found that campaigns aimed at encouraging these women to get help were failing to get into the Asian community.

We wanted to produce a resource which would increase awareness

Lakhvir Rellon, Northern Birmingham Mental Health Trust

Lakhvir Rellon, Asian services development manager for the Northern Birmingham Mental Health Trust, said: "A lot of debate and information tends to stay around professionals and academics.

"We weren't sure if the Asian community was aware that there was a problem.

"We wanted to produce a resource which would increase awareness and enable people to discuss the issue in a safe environment."

She said the reasons for the high suicide rates were complex.

"There are likely to be a number of reasons and these are likely to be related to the social realities of women of Indian origin living in the UK.

"Factors could include difficulties in family relations, social isolation or racism.

"It could also be because of conflicts arising within a family or within the community because the woman wants autonomy and control over her own life."

High suicide rates among immigrant communities living in the UK were first identified more than 15 years ago.

More recent studies have found that young Asian women were twice as likely to try to kill themselves than the national average.

Women over the age of 24 were less likely but suicide rates are still higher than national figures.

Drama story

The video itself is a drama story based around the lives of an Asian family. It shows one woman who reaches the brink of suicide.

The hour-long drama is interspersed with analysis on the women's thoughts and actions from a counsellor and GP.

The video has received funding from the Department of Health and North Birmingham Mental Health Trust.

It is being made available to health authorities and community and religious organisations across the UK as part of an effort to reduce deaths from suicide.

The drama was filmed in Punjabi and has been dubbed into both Bengali and Gujarati with English subtitles.

It is being marketed by Mental Health Media.

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