Center Hailed as Crucial for English-Speakers in Critical Need of Mental Health Services
The first of its kind in Israel, the English-language Therapy Center in Jerusalem has already drawn dozens of English speakers, gap-year students, lone soldiers and Israelis from across the country since opening in October 2022. The Center fills a pressing need for professional mental health services that, according to studies, has increased by 25% since the pandemic.
Staffed by YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work graduate students, recent graduates and other professionals who specialize in a variety of modalities and concentrations such as addiction, anxiety and trauma, the Center contains several therapy rooms and a classroom to meet the needs of patients and students.
“This groundbreaking Therapy Center is the result of an important and exciting collaboration between Amudim and YU,” said Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, who attended the Jan. 18 inaugural event in Jerusalem. “The Center represents an important pillar in Yeshiva University’s projects and vision to strengthen the connection between the Diaspora and the State of Israel.”
In addition to Rabbi Berman, the inaugural event was also attended by leaders including Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, CEO and Co-Founder of Amudim Rabbi Zvi Gluck; Executive Director of YU in Israel Stephanie Strauss; Director of Amudim Israel Yossi Golberstein; Clinical Director JTC, Dr. Khaya Eisenberg; Wurzweiler’s Israel Director Nechama Munk; MK Michal Woldiger; Jerusalem’s Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan Nahoum and more.
The Center is run in partnership with Wurzweiler and Amudim Israel, a social services organization serving individuals and families impacted by trauma, addiction, and other complex mental health related issues.
“Wurzweiler is unique in its ability to both educate the next generation of mental health professionals and provide much-needed and high-level services to our community in Israel,” said Dr. Selma Botman, YU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This is an exceptional opportunity to connect to YU’s larger mission of serving the needs of those living in Israel. As a world-renowned institution, YU is proud to provide exceptional training, support, and expertise to the people of Israel.”
The Center addresses the pressing mental health needs of English-speaking immigrants—from those suffering psychologically from the pandemic to gap-year students away from home for the first time and new immigrants struggling to adjust to life in Israel. Gap year students come to Israel to study for a year fresh out of high school and will be a key focus for the Center. These students are away from their families and familiar support systems, often for the first time, and are not usually covered for mental health counseling by the tourist/temporary health insurance. The Center provides important, affordable, quality mental health care to this vital population.
The Center serves other often overlooked demographics, who may suffer alone with mental health challenges: soldiers struggling with PTSD; and those who make aliya and find the financial, cultural, and psychological stress overwhelming.
For many in Israel’s English-speaking community, dealing with mental health issues can be difficult, complicated and confusing. Diagnosis and treatment can be trying under the best of circumstances and locating appropriate English-speaking practitioners can add layers of complexity, while navigating and understanding the mental health services offered through the health system can be challenging.
“Our community is in real need of mental health services,” said Nechama Munk, director of YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work Israel Program. “One of our basic values is to help those in need, and the Therapy Center will be here to offer relief and hope. Getting good, affordable treatment is challenging for all Israelis, and even more so when your mother tongue isn’t Hebrew.”
Another long-term benefit of the Jerusalem Therapy Center: it will create English-speaking clinical fieldwork placement for Wurzweiler graduate students—supervised by experienced clinicians—who will help students gain skills and give back to the community. In addition, the Jerusalem Therapy Center will provide training and enrichment seminars for gap-year administrators, educators, directors and therapists; giving them the tools they need to gain new skills and properly guide students who may be struggling.
The Jerusalem Therapy Center is located at 3 Strauss Street, Jerusalem, Israel. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 02-380-3060