In what was likely one of the most turbulent years in recent memory, the question of “How are you feeling?” is now more than just a casual pleasantry. The events of the past year have put mental health at the forefront of our collective consciousness. Corona-related lockdowns triggered an upsurge in mental health issues, as increased numbers of people found themselves floundering in feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress.
Perhaps there were relationship issues that were suppressed for quite some time that you were now forced to confront. Possibly you have questioned whether things must continue this way– could there be a way out of this void of distress, tension, or sadness?
Some of us struggle to find a sense of connection, joy, and meaning in our life. We are often unaware that receiving professional assistance in navigating our personal challenges is even an option. Finding the right help can be especially daunting for those who are not familiar with all the mental healthcare resources in Israel that are at their disposal.
However, people should be informed of the abundance of organizations dedicated to promoting the emotional wellbeing of chareidi families and communities. Increased growth of these mental health services over the past several years has resulted in improved awareness and treatment of issues that have previously been neglected. Connecting people to lifelines in the form of therapy initiated individuals and families into a process of self-discovery and change, helping to preserve innumerable relationships.
However, in spite of its value, many people still don’t understand the benefit of seeking mental health support.
Why would someone need mental health services or therapy?
Perhaps those parents who made Aliyah don’t know how to cope with a child facing significant adjustment struggles. Possibly, a family is touched by tragedy, addiction, or abuse. Maybe a mother feels crushed under the weight of inexplicable sadness and anxiety several weeks after she has had a baby. Perhaps a couple faces seemingly insurmountable barriers in forming a secure, loving relationship. Or it could be that someone wants to gain insight into those issues preventing him from reaching his full potential as a fulfilled, happy individual.
These instances are just a partial snapshot of the vast numbers of issues and situations that therapists and mental health practitioners around Israel consistently encounter. These parents, families, and children are confused about the meaning of their symptoms, and struggle to make sense of why they cannot cope. Recognizing that the possibility of help exists while having the courage and wherewithal to reach out for it is already half the journey toward healing.
What is therapy? And how does it help, anyway?
People often wonder what happens when you are in session with a therapist or any other mental health practitioner. Unlike encounters you may have with doctors and other professionals, the foundation of effective therapy is the relationship you will form with the practitioner. Once you have established a strong rapport, the actual intervention can take various forms depending on the therapist’s particular orientation. Some forms of therapy emphasize the role of a person’s negative thought patterns as a driving force behind their issues. Other therapists will focus on the client-therapist relationship as a vehicle for change. Many would address the impact of the person’s past experiences on their present problems.
Some therapists tend toward brief, practical, and solution-oriented treatments, and some prefer to engage their clients in longer-term, deeper explorations of what is blocking their growth. What is most essential is that you are comfortable seeking a mental health professional who you feel is the right fit for your personality and your personal goals.
The bottom line is that all the various forms of therapy share the overarching goal of having you achieve a sense of wellbeing and inner harmony—helping you get to know yourself better, improve your relationships, increase your ability to cope, and access the full breadth of your inner potential.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of mental health services tailored toward the Anglo community in Israel. The following is a list of different agencies, clinics, and organizations that you can use to reach out to the resources you need.
- Gethelpisrael.com is a great resource for anyone seeking information on navigating the Israeli mental health system. They have an extensive directory of different psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, treatment facilities, support groups, and programs that specialize in addressing different issues.
- Amudim Israel provides mental health support, case management, and referrals for those in need, free of charge. They are also known for spreading awareness on issues including addiction, sexual abuse, and trauma.
- Chazkeinu provides support to women coping with mental illness or the mental illness of a loved one.
- Ezer Mizion- Mental Health Services offers mental health support services and rehabilitative programs for people suffering from emotional issues and mental illnesses.
- Hakshiva is a therapy program in Ramat Beit Shemesh offering individual therapy, family therapy, and parenting guidance at subsidized rates. They give parenting workshops and teen social skills groups as well.
- Kav L’Noar is a therapy clinic that offers therapeutic intervention and support to adolescents and their families experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges.
- Mahut-Parent Center offers support to parents of teenagers in the form of family therapy, individual therapy, and group therapy. Treatment is free of charge for up to one year.
- Mercaz Panim gives guidance and counseling to women suffering from infertility.
- Merkaz Yahel provides counseling and education to couples with relationship and intimacy challenges.
- Metiv helps treat survivors of trauma.
- Milam offers support, guidance, and therapy to people coping with the mental illness of a family member.
- Nevey Family Institute Clinic provides subsidized counseling services for individuals, couples, and families.
- Nitza helps support and guide women with postpartum depression.
- The Place offers therapy and support groups for individuals, families, and couples.
- Puah Institute assists women through the challenge of fertility.
- Shiluv Institute is a non-profit institution providing couple and family therapy, as well as specialized services including treatment of trauma and divorce mediation.
- The Autism Center gives clinical intervention to those on the autism spectrum, with social skills groups for children, adolescents, and young adults with ASD, as well as support groups for family members.
- Yad Rachel delivers a wide range of therapeutic services to children and their families.
- Yedidim specializes in providing support and guidance for those in the Anglo community with children who have social, emotional, and academic issues, as well as Aliyah-related challenges.
Thank you to gethelpisrael.com for all the information on the above resources.