Number of Suicide Attempts of Children Under 14 in Israel Rose 62% in a Decade

A main theory to the causes of the rise in suicide attempts and depression among young people is related to the increasing use of social media and lack of physical exercise

Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, 2018.
Eyal Toueg

The number of suicide attempt by children aged 14 and under rose by 62 percent within a decade, states the statistical abstract from the Israel National Council for the Child for 2018 released on Tuesday.

In 2018, 342 suicide attempts of children 14 and under were reported, compared to 211 such reported attempts in 2008.

The average age of teens and children attempting to commit suicide has been dropping in recent years, say health care professionals. In 2018, 39 percent of all such attempts were by children aged 14 and under.

In 2018, 876 children and teens were taken to the emergency room as a result of suicide attempts – 655 girls and 221 boys. 33 of them were children under 9, 309 were aged 10 to 14, and 534 of youths attempting suicide were 15 to 17.

In 2018, 1,196 children 17 and under were hospitalized in psychiatric wards, almost half of them were 15 and under – including almost 200 children 11 and younger. These figures include more than hospitalization for some of the children.

One of the main theories as to the causes of the rise in suicide attempts and depression among young people is related to the increasing use of social media and a lack of physical exercise. The Eran nonprofit organization, which provides emotional first aid and runs a suicide hotline, has reported a rise in calls from young people in emotional distress from depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.