Suicidal behaviour among Arab adolescents at risk in Israel and it’s perception as a mean of expressing distress and as a help seeking technique

Original presentation and abstract by Nomi Scheffler, Dana Feldman and Alan Apter (Schneider Children’s Medical Center, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department, Tel-Aviv, Israel) on suicidal behaviour among Arab adolescents at risk in Israel and it’s perception as a mean of expressing distress and as a help seeking technique. This lecture was held at the ESCAP 2013 Congress in Dublin, Wednesday 10th July 2013.

Suicide is one of the most common causes of death in adolescence around the world. In Israel, suicide among Arab adolescents is an issue that has not been investigated enough. Although studies indicate that suicide is less common in this population, suicidal behaviours among Arab adolescents are more common in the last years.
Aims: In this study we aim to evaluate the differences between Arab and Jewish adolescents in regard to their help-seeking techniques and their attitudes toward suicide. We shall also investigate the hypothesis claiming that because of the differences between the populations, the correlation between the severity of psychopathology and suicidal behaviours in the Arab population will be lower.
Method: 12 high-schools from Jewish and Arab cities in Israel were randomly chosen. 1,200 pupils completed self-report questionnaires regarding suicide ideations and attempts (Paykel Suicide Scale), psychopathology (SDQ; BDI; Zung Anxiety Scale), socio-demographic background, help seeking techniques and attitudes toward suicide. For clinical considerations, all questionnaires were screened for severe suicidal behaviours and those subjects were interviewed by school counselor.
Preliminary results: 15.7 % of the Arab adolescents, in compare with 5.1 % of the Jewish adolescents, reported they either thought about suicide during the past 2 weeks before the survey or had a suicide plan. Although the Arab adolescents were only 44.7 % of the participants, 67 % of the participants who reported that they attempted suicide were Arabs.
Conclusions: Hopefully this research will elucidate the unique patterns which lead to suicidal behaviours that have been found as rising among Arab adolescents. Identifying these patterns is a basic step for establishing new strategies of preventing suicidal behaviours in this population.
Keywords: suicide, adolescents, Arab.

View or download the full presentation here (pdf file, 18 slides).

Slide from Dr Apter's presentation W1-01-02.