Enosh – The Israeli Mental Health Association’s Operation Guardian of the Walls/ Guarding The Walls of Mental Health May 2021
As Israel is going through a very difficult time Enosh the Israeli mental health association‘s activity is significantly affected. After a year under the Covid-19 pandemic’s circumstances, in recent weeks we have witnessed a rise in violence and insecurity levels of Israeli citizens – both by rockets fired by Hamas’ terror organization from Gaza, and by riots accruing in various Israeli cities between Jews and Arabs.
Due to recent events, 45 which is 2/3 of Enosh’s community mental health centers are under the threat of missiles with about 600 employees and over 4000 service users. Also, 25 of Enosh’s service-centers operate in Jewish-Arab mixed cities in addition to 6 service centers which are located in all-Arabic regions with over 300 employees and about 2000 service users.
Since its establishment, Enosh promotes coexistence and commitment to working with diverse professional staff in all sectors of Israeli societies and even provides multi-lingual and culture-oriented services.
These unfortunate events have caused significant negative effects on the mental wellbeing of people with psychosocial disabilities and their caregivers, mostly their close family, who are more likely to experience anxiety, depression or addiction disorders due to stress. As a result, we can already notice up to 40% rise in the number of inquiries to Enosh’s community mental health services in the domains of housing, employment, social-recreational centers, youth treatment and family consultation. In addition, there is a substantial rise of 400-700% in the need of intensive treatment, intervention and engagement as reported by the professional staff.
Enosh has a well-established emergency work plan which enables us to shift smoothly from daily routine to extreme situations. As a response to the complicated circumstances, we reacted by providing short-term emergency strategies for assisting both employees and service users:
- Expending availability and reinforcing staff in Arab-Jewish mixed and bombed cities as well as mobilizing service users according to local dynamic needs.
- Supporting lonely service consumers with coordination to other services and enhancing emergency guidance and daily assistance.
- Increasing online communication activities for stress relief, social interaction and mental resilience.
Consequently, we face an immense additional workload and stress load to hundreds among our employees who are also in need of support – “any helper needs some help and relief” as they live under the same threats along with their families.
In order to cope with the above long-term consequences, we will need to support our current service users and staff as well as the noticeable wave of new service users by:
- A designated relief and resilience supportive program including both a getaway and dynamic workshops.
- Organizing co-existence workshops and lectures for employees and service users.
In conclusion, the recent violence and unrest are rather a continuation to an intense year under Covid-19 circumstances, which has resulted in a 40% enlargement and reinforcement of the organization’s community mental health activities due to the growing need nationwide. Our smooth adaptation was possible thanks to our devoted employees and to the valuable help and trust of our partners in Enosh.
We will appreciate any support which would be a great help to allow relief and strengthen mental resilience among our employees, service users and their family members. This kind of help will contribute to the continuation of our mission – providing adjusted, sensitive, and effective mental health services at all times to those in need.
With sincere appreciation and best regards,
Dr. Hilla Hadas
Enosh – The Israeli Mental Health Association