NGO sees sharp spike in post-trauma cases among IDF soldiers

Director says crowdfunding launched as number of former soldiers with trauma who apply for help has doubled while budget stretched to the limit
(Video: ILTV)

A crowdfunding campaign to raise donations for the treatment of discharged soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has yielded unexpected results - a significant increase in applications for treatment.
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"Instead of 250 discharged soldiers who experienced combat trauma and were on our waiting list for treatment, we now have twice as many," says Haim Halevi, CEO of the Leaving No soldier on the Behind association.
"Around 80% of the new applicants are 'awakened' - individuals who, following media interviews about identifying combat trauma symptoms, started questioning whether they are suffering from it. The tough reality is that it's more likely they do."
The problem lies in the fact that the association's budget is stretched to the limit. "We need help to provide them with assistance," says Halevi, who, a week ago, launched a crowdfunding campaign with the association, aimed at enabling them to continue providing comprehensive rehabilitation for combat survivors in Israel.
Most people are unfamiliar with these statistics: one in every five discharged soldiers from the IDF experiences PTSD. They struggle with sleepless nights due to nightmares. They have outbursts, sometimes violent, even toward their loved ones. They find it challenging to maintain a job, friendships, relationships – their lives.
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גבר דיכאון פוסט טראומה אילוסטרציה אילוס
גבר דיכאון פוסט טראומה אילוסטרציה אילוס
(Illustration: Shutterstock)
Currently, officially recognized cases stand at around 5,000, but estimates suggest there may be 25,000 unreported cases. Moreover, many of them do not receive timely, adequate treatment or any treatment at all. This is due to the lengthy recognition process, shame about their condition, lack of trust in the system, or financial constraints preventing them from affording treatment, even if they may be reimbursed by the government later on.
The crowdfunding campaign launched a week ago aims to enable the inclusion of many more combat-discharged soldiers suffering from combat trauma. "Our mission is to save their lives, no less," explains Halevi, as the treatment for combat trauma costs 20,000 NIS per year.
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