Suicide rates among IDF soldiers dropped by 50 percent in 2013, with seven suicides reported last year in contrast to 14 in 2012, marking the lowest number of suicides in the army since the establishment of the IDF in 1948, the army said in a report cited by Hebrew media on Wednesday.
The figures continue a trend of steady decline in reported suicides among Israeli soldiers since 2010. In the past four years, the number of suicides has declined by 75%.
The reasons behind the dramatic dip in suicides, according to IDF assessments, include the implementation of internal investigative procedures to discuss problematic cases, increased involvement by commanders and mental health professionals, and a reduction in the number of permissions granted to soldiers to take their weapons home during furloughs.
Based on investigations into the seven suicides this year, IDF officials say that the circumstances of the deaths were unrelated to the soldiers’ military service.
In all, 40 IDF soldiers died in 2013, the lowest number of military fatalities in a decade. The most common cause of death was car accidents, which claimed the lives of 14 soldiers, followed by illnesses from which nine soldiers died.
IDF officials stressed that the tallied car accidents did not occur while the soldiers were on duty.
Forty-two soldiers died in 2012, 52 in 2011, and 75 in 2010.