IDF soldiers stand atop tanks in the Golan Heights near Israel's border with Syria..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Military Police is investigating three suicides by soldiers in recent weeks, all of whom took part in combat in the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge.
The soldiers, all from the Givati infantry brigade, apparently took their own lives in the weeks that followed the war. The IDF expressed its condolences to the bereaved families, and pledged to support them.
An army source said on Wednesday that the issue of suicide prevention among soldiers is a top priority, adding that the IDF is working through a number of channels, including through commanders, to minimize and prevent such incidents.
The source added that in recent years there had been a significant drop in the number of suicides.
According to the source, the IDF’s mental health department led an effort during the war to boost the mental fortitude of soldiers.
Mental health social workers were deployed among conscripted and reserve units, close to the front line in Gaza, and treated hundreds of soldiers who required assistance.
The treatment continued after the operation, said the source, and an emphasis was placed on tracking down those at risk. The army attempted to locate such soldiers directly and through the help of their commanding officers.
A phone survey has been conducted in recent weeks among combat soldiers in order to help track down those needing assistance.
The army said the number of soldiers who need assistance is roughly the same as figures following past conflicts.