of Mental Health
In recent years, the Beit Shemesh community has experienced many documented suicides, mental health hospitalizations and incarcerations in prisons due to mental health breakdowns.
The mental health system and related services create a confusing and bureaucratic black hole. The services are disconnected from each other, leaving the public without a clear navigation path to healing.
There is an enormous knowledge gap in the education of community leaders, family doctors, educators, esteemed Rabbanim and other persons of influence who should be in a position to guide families through the system, but are unable to.
In mental health cases, patients and their families often are left to deal with multiple authorities, including the local Revacha (Municipal Social Services/Welfare Department), Police, Prison Services, the Justice/Legal System and the Mental Health system, a subset of the Misrad Habriut (Ministry of Health).
These are 5 different government agencies with their own policies, processes, areas of concern, and specific approaches to issues. Even under normal circumstances navigating between these bodies, and the multitudes of layers they each oversee, is extremely difficult as there is no clear interface between them. Each department is able to handle issues under its own jurisdiction, but when it involves one of the other bodies, the track stops.
There is currently no ability for follow through when a person’s situation is impacted by more than one of these bodies.
The Unique Challenges
Families in a mental health crisis are often left to fend for themselves. Already in a place of tremendous fragility they are now tasked with interfacing with multiple organizations to try and access support and services, often not in their mother tongue and often plagued by enormous financial burden.
The hauntingly repeated statement from families suffering with a loved one in a mental health crisis express:
If my child, G-d forbid, had cancer the entire community would be preparing meals, davening, babysitting and providing every type of emotional support, but…
in this situation of a mental health crisis, we suffer in silence, alone and afraid.
And that’s where our Mental Health Crisis Services begin.