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Mental Health Program for Olim in Israel

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Last Updated on December 8, 2021

The new mental health program for Olim in Israel.

keep olim

KeepOlim (RA 580613610) the post aliyah nonprofit for all Olim has proudly started the first part of their Mental Health Program for All Olim! Their Pilot Program “Support Groups” for Olim in their own language has 13 groups in :

3 languages in 5 cities across Israel.

The “Support Groups” will be expanded to include 6 languages in cities across the country.

The therapists are overseen by volunteer Program Director Dr. Robert Lubin.

Our Support Groups consist of up to 10 individuals meeting with an experienced Oleh therapist like themselves.

The support groups meet once a week for 8 weeks and costs only 200 shekels per participant for the 8 sessions.

If an individual cannot afford the support group, KeepOlim subsidizes the cost.

Over ½ of the 110 participants in this Pilot Program did not pay the full amount and KeepOlim paid the difference.

No one is turned away due to lack of funds!

The lack of Mental Health Services for Olim has reached crisis level!

Sadly, more than ⅓ of all suicides in Israel are Olim!

There have been 9 OD’s and suicides the 40,000 member closed Facebook group “Keep Olim in Israel Movement” in the last 3 ½ years.

All were young Americans and 4 of them were Lone Soldiers after the Army.

It is so sad that these Olim who came to Israel to live their dreams were instead eaten up by the land that they so loved.

Last year alone, over 70 suicidal Olim reached out to KeepOlim via Facebook for help! We gave them a shoulder to cry on and referred them to our volunteer therapists. We even helped put a few in the hospital for treatment.

KeepOlim is developing a program to combat depression among Olim with over 60 therapists who speak over 12 languages.

Mental Health Care in Israel for Olim in their native languages is completely lacking in Israel.

Olim sometimes wait for months to speak to a counselor in their native language through Kupat Holim and in many cases there is no therapist that speaks their language.

Israel’s suicide hotline ERAN only has counselors that speak Arabic and Hebrew providing no help for desperate Olim in their time of need!

The Pilot Program for Support Groups will be conducted in English, Spanish, and Russian. Other languages including French, Portuguese, Amharic and Kuki (the language of the Bnei Menashe) will follow once the program expands.

The pilot program will deal with various issues concerning your lives as Olim such as depression, job search, loneliness, language culture barriers, adjusting to Israel, family issues, etc.

The second part of our program is a Crisis Hotline in over 6 languages that will be staffed by trained volunteers that speak the language of Olim.  This is very desperately needed now as we have dealt with 70 calls of suicidal Olim in the last year alone!

As part of this Crisis Hotline we will have a special Hotline for Lone Soldiers to call in anonymously and talk to our therapists.

Many of the calls that received are Lone Soldiers that are too scared to talk to their commanders about their mental health as their profiles in the army will go down and their guns may get taken away.

There is a crisis of suicides and OD’s of Lone Soldiers during and after the army.

Two weeks ago, another Lone soldier from Russia hung himself. The last few weeks the calls from Lone Soldiers to us has skyrocketed due in part to this bad news.

The third part of the program will be Low Cost Quality Subsidized Individual Counseling Sessions in the Olim’s native language with experienced qualified therapists.

These sessions will be designed to help Olim overcome their own personal issues that they face as well as empower them in their new homeland. Each Israeli is entitled to 15 sessions of therapy through their Chupat Cholim.

However, there are many times that no staff speaks their language. Many Olim have to wait for months to see a therapist that speaks their language and if they are lucky enough to get one they do not in many cases understand the problems the Olim and dismiss them leading to very serious situations and sadly in some cases death.

We have one simple goal – to keep Olim in Israel!

For more information on KeepOlim visit https://keepolim.org/en/

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