Teens to train in suicide prevention

Some 2,000 national service and youth movement members will become gatekeepers to detect and help those at risk for committing suicide.

September 9, 2016 00:45
1 minute read.
Teen depression

Teen depression. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)


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Starting this year, National Service volunteers will be trained to prevent people from committing suicide.

This was announced Thursday by the Health and Education ministries in advance of World Day for Suicide Prevention on Friday.

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The volunteers will be trained through a special program, Shomrei Hasaf (Gatekeepers). The Council of Youth Movements led the project, saying, “We see this as a first step that can save teenagers and children.”

Some 2,000 national service and youth movement members will become gatekeepers to detect and help those at risk for committing suicide.

“They can use educational tools to give them what they need on an immediate basis,” the council said. “We are in ongoing contact with a number of bodies involved in the program, including Bishvil Hahayim (For Life), a voluntary organization that supports families whose loved ones ended their lives and also works to prevent suicide.”

Naftali Deri, the secretary- general of the council, said that the counselors in youth movements are very close to their members in age and culture and thus many times are the only ones who are able to hear and observe their problems. “It’s important to give the counselors the tools to identify those at risk and to refer those under stress to authorities who can help them. It’s good that the ministries recognized the abilities of youth movement counselors.”

Ilan Gazit, chairman of the National Service Year Committee in the Youth Movement Council and secretary- general of the Olim Camps movement added: “Each year, over 100 youths under the age of 24 commit suicide in Israel. Acting properly, we can prevent the deaths of many of them. Experience shows that training young people as gatekeepers is very effective. This is a significant contribution to braking the conspiracy of silence over suicide and to preventing them from ending their lives,” he concluded.

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