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Medics warn of rise in deaths by suicide, with 13 in past 11 days

Magen David Adom also records 252 attempts in same period; 3,757 domestic violence indictments filed since March, TV report says

Illustrative: Police and medical personnel at the scene where police were investigating a suspected murder-suicide in Petah Tikva, January 17, 2020. (Roy Alima/Flash90)
Illustrative: Police and medical personnel at the scene where police were investigating a suspected murder-suicide in Petah Tikva, January 17, 2020. (Roy Alima/Flash90)

The Magen David Adom emergency service has recorded 13 deaths by suicide in the past 11 days and 252 attempts, in what medics described as a sharp rise in cases.

Channel 12, which publicized the figures, said it could not confirm a link between the rate of suicides and the coronavirus pandemic, but added that the two appeared to be connected.

“In the past few days, we have seen a significant increase in cases reported to MDA on incidents suspected to be suicide attempts. This is a rise by dozens of percentage points as compared to incidents during a routine period,” said MDA’s Chief Information Officerת Ido Rosenblat.

Israel sees around 300-400 suicide deaths each year, and over 6,000 attempts, according to Health Ministry data from 2007 to 2017.

Last month, an Israeli crisis hotline said it was receiving an unprecedented level of suicidal calls — many of them from people who had not been diagnosed with mental health issues before the pandemic started.

The current lockdown has doubled the normal volume of suicidal calls to ERAN, a non-profit that is supported by the Health Ministry. Since the onset of the coronavirus crisis, some 5,500 Israelis who are considering ending their lives have made contact.

Operators at an ERAN call center. (courtesy of ERAN)

Channel 12 on Monday also spotlighted a dramatic increase in domestic violence charges since the start of the pandemic.

It said 3,757 criminal indictments have been filed since March on charges of domestic violence, marking an 18 percent increase compared to last year.

The coronavirus pandemic has killed over 2,600 people in Israel, infected over 300,000, and left around a million unemployed.

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