IDF ups efforts to prevent soldiers' suicides in 2021

In 2020, nine soldiers committed suicide. This comes as a slight decrease in comparison to the previous year, 2019, in which 12 soldiers committed suicide.

IDF cadets at Base 80 will be allowed to quarantine at home (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
IDF cadets at Base 80 will be allowed to quarantine at home
The IDF will increase efforts to prevent suicides among soldiers this year, following conclusions drawn over the past year, OC Manpower Directorate Maj.-Gen. Moti Almoz said Sunday.
Nine soldiers committed suicide in 2020, and 12 took their own lives in 2019.
To combat the phenomenon, the IDF has developed a system that will help it better identify soldiers who could become suicidal, Almoz said. The IDF has identified six parameters that might affect a soldier, he said.
The first is the sense of being meaningful and essential; the second is major changes in the soldier’s day-to-day life; the third is a sense of disappointment; the fourth is major doubts in a soldier’s life; the fifth is how strict are the soldier’s commanders and officers; the sixth is the way the soldier interprets troubles at home, Almoz said.
The last one could be more dominant during the coronavirus period, in which many soldiers are experiencing changes in their lives and might feel that the crisis is affecting their families’ lives financially, he said.
Almoz stressed the necessity of understanding that a soldier is in crisis in real time.
“There are soldiers who are saying that they are on their way to commit suicide, and that is, unfortunately, the easy case,” he said. “Our real problem is that when he doesn’t say that explicitly, and only in retrospect you connect the dots – the things he said and did.”
Officers and commanders are attending workshops in an effort to combat this phenomenon, Almoz said.
“Sometimes a soldier complains just to improve the conditions of service, and it is hard to realize that he is going through a real problem that should be addressed by professionals,” he said.
“Commanders and officers are constantly being briefed on how to carry out the proper military procedures to deal with these kinds of situations,” Almoz said. “They are being told how to identify these six parameters and how to address these issues.”