Eight suicide prevention centers to open around Israel

According to the OECD, Israel has the second lowest suicide rate, and is trying to lower that rate even further.

September 13, 2016 03:38
1 minute read.
Health Ministry officials from Israel and the Ivory Coast meet in Jerusalem

Health Ministry officials from Israel and the Ivory Coast meet in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Eight centers to combat suicide and to help families whose loved ones committed suicide are being opened by the Labor and Social Services Ministry.

World Suicide Prevention Day was marked here and abroad earlier this week, and a conference on suicide prevention will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.

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“We are committed to sanctifying life and do the maximum to prevent suicide,” Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz said. “Unfortunately, hundreds of Israelis [commit suicide] in an average year and leave a vacuum among their families. With the new centers, social workers will help them cope with the tragedy and give them tools to deal with the new reality and the great pain.”

The total cost of the centers is NIS 15 million. Two of the centers have already opened this summer in Tel Aviv and Haifa, Katz said, and 60 families have been treated. Six more will open in Jerusalem, Tira, Ashkelon, Hadera, Nazareth and Beersheba. Each year, the centers are expected to treat 400 to 500 families who has had a member commit suicide.

Treatment is individual and provided by specially trained social workers. The centers will also treat an additional 500 families who have lost loved ones to murder, manslaughter and road accidents.

Health Ministry statistics from March showed that from the middle 1990s until now, there has been a significant decline in the suicide rate of people aged 15 and above (11.2 per 100,000 residents in 1994 to 6.3 per 100,000 in 2013.) The vast majority of people who succeed in killing themselves are men, 78%, compared to two-thirds in the early 1980s. Suicide rates rise with age, especially among males. The rate of suicides up to the age of 45 is significantly lower than those over 75 years.

Compared to 28 OECD countries, Israel has the second- lowest suicide rate. The highest is in Lithuania.

The share of suicides among Arabs is significantly lower than among Jews over 65 but higher than their representation in the population in Arabs under the age of 25.

About a third of all suicides were by new immigrants – 117 among 342 suicides in 2013. Of these, 100 were born in the former Soviet Union who immigrated after 1990, with the rest immigrants from Ethiopia who arrived after 1980.

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