The IDF Personnel Directorate reported a 50% reduction in the number of suicides among soldiers in 2013 — seven cases compared to 14 in 2012. Thus 2013 has become the year in which the fewest suicides were documented since the establishment of the IDF in 1948.
A senior officer in the Manpower Directorate explained that the decrease in the number of suicide cases is due to the work of IDF commanders who made use of prevention actions and pretreatment care in various sensitive cases.
One of their efforts was to have weekly committee meetings that discussed problematic cases. The senior source also noted the increase in the number of soldiers that informed their commanders about friends that were experiencing distress.
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More reasons for the decline in the number of cases, the IDF reports, is the army's reduction in the amount of permits allowing soldiers to return home with personal weapons. They also mentioned their ability to detect particularly sensitive cases prior to recruitment.
The senior furthermore added that the investigation of the seven suicide cases showed no direct correlation between the conditions of the service and the cause for suicide. He added that the majority of those that took their lives were men.
Data from the Manpower Directorate shows that last year 40 soldiers were injured from various reasons — none were suicide attempts. One of the soldiers that did commit suicide was a NCO, (non-commissioned officer) and the rest were soldiers in mandatory service.
The IDF explained that in general, suicide rates among the ages of 18-21 are reported to be the highest across the world. It was further reported that in recent years 40% of those who committed suicide did so during the first year of their service.
"The figure is low compared to a global scale and other population sectors", said the official, adding that in the past four years they have seen a 75% reduction in the number of suicides.
Overall 40 IDF soldiers have died in the past year, including five who died in operational activities, five in traffic accidents, nine from diseases and seven who as mentioned, committed suicide. In 2012, 42 soldiers died, compared with 54 in 2011 and 75 in 2012.