Perceptions of suicide and their impact on policy, discourse and welfare

Orit Nuttman-Shwartz, Udi Lebel, Shirley Avrami, Nirit Volk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In recent years, there has been an increase in suicide rates throughout the Western world. However, psycho-social responses to the problem are limited, as is public awareness of suicide and its consequences. This article presents findings from a survey on public attitudes toward suicide in Israel. The survey was conducted among a representative sample, and examined the extent to which the problem is a public priority for developing interventions aimed at preventing and reducing the rates of suicide. The findings revealed that despite the prevalence of suicide in Israel, and even though many of the participants had been personally acquainted with the families of suicide victims, suicide still ranks low on the hierarchy of bereavement. The Israeli public is ignorant about suicide, and does not consider it a problem that calls for government intervention and accountability. The study highlights the need for social workers to play an active role as social agents in an attempt to change the social 'bereavement pyramid' perception and effect on government policy toward suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-392
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Bereavement
  • Public Awareness
  • Social Attitudes
  • Suicide


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