Hadar Gil-Ad
Hadar Gil-Ad
Israelis line up to get tested for coronavirus in Tel Aviv

Israel must solve its mental health pandemic

Opinion: Psychologists and social workers report increasing number of people suffering from anxiety, depression, eating disorders and addiction caused by consequences of COVID pandemic; but they wait months and years to receive treatment

Hadar Gil-Ad |
Published: 01.21.22, 23:27
Hundreds of Israelis have recently been confined to their homes. Whether it is because they have been infected with coronavirus, in quarantine having come in contact with a carrier, or simply wish to remain at home out of fear of catching the virus - all share a similar sense of concern.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Despite tens of thousands of people already ill, hundreds of thousands told to isolate, and families buckle under the load of the pandemic, there is no public conversation, press conference or official statement addressing the matter. Nothing but crickets.
    3 View gallery
    תורים לבדיקות קורונה בהבימה תל אביב
    תורים לבדיקות קורונה בהבימה תל אביב
    Israelis line up to get tested for coronavirus in Tel Aviv
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    For the past two years, successive governments and their respective health experts have been speaking about life alongside the virus. But they have all ignored the emotional and psychological cost of such a life, and unlike the disease itself, have not attempted to mitigate those costs.
    After two years of insecurity, distress and fear, and many unanswered questions Israelis have, research now shows the public will be made to pay dearly in their mental health.
    Psychologists and social workers are already reporting an unimaginable decline in the mental health of all age groups across all sectors of the population, regardless of social standing or financial stability. No one is immune.
    These professionals report a rise in anxiety, depression, addictions to control substances, eating disorders and suicidal tendencies.
    3 View gallery
    דיכאון
    דיכאון
    Illustration of depression
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    They say their ability to help was already compromised before the pandemic and requires even more government assistance since its outbreak. There are long waiting times for treatment and months and months pass before those struggling can receive some sort of mental health assistance.
    How is a young child suffering from developmental challenges be expected to wait for two years before he or she can receive therapy? Or a young girl who was a victim of sexual assault, how long must she wait?
    How long should someone who has lost his or her livelihood, and is struggling to pay the bills, wait for some emotional support? Or the elderly and increasingly isolated seniors, how long must he or she struggle alone?
    The same demand is placed on private care at high cost – so, money is not enough to end the suffering.
    3 View gallery
    מכור לאלכוהול
    מכור לאלכוהול
    Illustration: Alcohol addiction
    (Photo: Shutterstock)
    When you think of the billions spent on the fight against the pandemic, including financial assistance to businesses, blanket stipends to the entire population, vaccines purchased at premium prices, to name but a few, when will there be money invested in the mental health crisis?
    It is time to allocate funds to support Israel's mental health response, after it was compromised by lack of funding for many years, or the mental and emotional health of Israelis will remain compromised long after the pandemic ends.


    Talkbacks for this article 0