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Suicide prevention in Israel 

Suicide prevention in Israel
Suicide prevention in Israel

Alan Apter

and Cendrine Bursztein

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date: 05 July 2022

In Israel, approximately 400–500 people commit suicide each year. In 2000, the Ministry of Health reported an incidence of 8.7 per 100,000 in individuals aged 15 years or more (Ministry of Health 2005). By gender, the rate was four times higher in men (14.2 per 100,000) than women (3.7 per 100,000). In 2002, the average annual number of emergency department visits for suicide attempts was 3600 (Ministry of Health 2005). More than one-third of these registered suicide attempts were committed by youth in the 15–24 age group. The figures for attempted suicide, however, may be grossly underestimated, given the known bias associated with reports from emergency room facilities.

Although Israel has been slow to recognize the value of a national suicide prevention programme compared to many countries in Europe, North America, and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), recent developments are encouraging. Several governmental and non-governmental initiatives have been instituted by the Inter- Ministerial Committee for Suicide Prevention, Path to Life, a parent–professional alliance, and the Ministries of Health, Welfare and Education. Together, these are expected to lead to a concerted unified nationwide effort to build a national suicide prevention plan.

Even though Israel has not yet adopted an official suicide prevention plan, the Israel Defence Force (IDF) has taken a significant step toward this goal. These activities will be described below.

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