The Elam report submitted to the president this month indicates that the suicide rate in Israel has increased by tens of percent among teenagers in the past year. Now the topic of the ‘silent epidemic’ is coming to the stage, this coming Sunday 6/25 there will be a launch show for the play ‘Kilofim’ which deals with suicide.
The actress Roni Nagar, whose brother tried to commit suicide with an M16 and ended his life at a young age, met the actor and playwright Amit Erez, whose grandmother and aunt tragically committed suicide, in the theater department of Tel Aviv University.
Together they created a play, which surprisingly turned into a comic drama, but carries with it an important message that is a public mission for them.
‘Kilofim’ deals with the silent epidemic that is not talked about, but occurs in almost every extended family in Israel. In the last year, many reports were published about a sharp increase in the percentage of suicides, especially among the youth, the purpose of the play is to raise the important issue in the public discourse and try to reduce the suicides.
In the afternoon we received a message from my brother “I am no longer alive, take care of my wife and the children” says Roni Nagar, “We went out to look for him with hundreds of people including family members and friends, we found him in the forest. He shot himself in the head, but did not succeed in committing suicide, he had a face Shattered but kept going. After a few years and a rehabilitation process, he passed away,” she sadly describes the difficult moments.
“In the theater class I met Amit Erez who is a playwright, I told him about my story and my desire to turn it into a play. To my surprise, he told me that in his family, his grandmother committed suicide as well as his aunt in a tragic way, but they didn’t talk about it in their family, it was immediately clear to us that we were starting rehearsals.”
The annual report of the Alam association published this month and submitted to President Herzog shows a disturbing picture of the suicide situation in Israel according to which a fifth of the youth contacted reported self-harm and suicide attempts. 44% tell about depression and anxiety that accompany them regularly. The data published by the Ministry of Health collected in relation to the years 2016-2020 indicate a 75% increase in suicide cases among young people. And in general, since the corona, the issue of mental health is acute and you have to look at the situation in the whites of the eyes.
“I am very worried about the younger generation” shares Nagar “This is a very exposed, sensitive generation and the topic of suicide is always on the rise, are we even prepared for this silent epidemic? Do we even know how to deal with suicide attempts or teenagers who feel depressed that could lead to this?”
Suicide is not only an epidemic among young people. Even among adults such as pregnant women or the elderly there is an increase in the percentage of suicides. This is one of the reasons why Roni and Amit feel that they are dealing with a topic that is so important to bring to public awareness and that the show becomes a real mission for them.
“We preferred to put on a text that is a bit comical in order to be able to digest the heavy subject” Roni shares in the unusual decision to put on a play of a comedic drama “For example, we have a scene that we do with the audience of “A workshop for writing a farewell letter to the world” Each of the viewers of the play is asked to write a letter His last farewell to the world. When the text is witty it can even bring a smile to the face of the audience but the message is still understandable and strong.