Third Of Suicides In Israel Committed By New Immigrants

Afrodita Mondragon, Julio Cesar Mondragon
The Associated Press

A new government report reveals that a third of suicides committed between 2000-2013 were committed by new immigrants, Ynet reported

The report, published by the Knesset Research and Information Center, showed that of the 4,806 people who committed suicide from 2000-2013, a third were immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia.

The statistics showed that among immigrants who committed suicide, 77.9 percent were from the former Soviet Union and 16.6 percent from Ethiopia.

“Many olim [new immigrants] experience a crisis as a result of immigrating and there is a fear of being tagged as someone with mental health problems,” said Member of Knesset Avraham Naguisa. “This stops them from seeking help, especially because they don’t have the means to finance private therapy.

“The statistics show that there are no translators at health clinics, which makes it very difficult for many olim to receive treatment, even following the reforms,” Naguisa continued. “The Ministry of Health and the health funds must immediately recruit multilingual therapists.”

Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova noted that moving countries can be very traumatic. “Olim experience isolation, homesickness, depression, difficulty in succeeding, difficulty coping, culture shock, and more,” she said.

“The fear and the difficulty in being marked as someone with psychiatric problems as a result of seeking mental health treatment is part of this phenomenon and in fact magnifies it,” she continued.

Asher Rahamim, the coordinator of services for the Ethiopian community at the Israeli Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma, said that Ethiopians are not able to access the same services as the rest of the country, in part due to the language barrier.

“The existing services are not accessible to us,” Rahamim said. “We cannot ignore that in every household there is at least one person whose mental health condition is complicated.

“The families don’t know how to deal with it, and whoever doesn’t see the connection between mental health and poverty is missing a significant issue,” he added.