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One in four new clients at mental health charity seek help due to war

08/12/2023
Published in The Jewish Chronicle

By Elisa Bray – December 08, 2023

One in four people seeking mental health support from the charity Jami for the first time have cited the Israel-Hamas War as a reason.

The figure was revealed in the initial assessment that new clients complete to determine their background, current situation and what they feel they need support with. Jami has stated that these new referrals are from people with pre-existing mental health issues whose symptoms have been exacerbated by the crisis.

Jami’s director of services Louise Kermode said: “The horrific events in Israel and Gaza and the rising antisemitism that it has sparked have impacted so many members of the community. People are feeling devastated, overwhelmed, and are experiencing sadness and anger.”

She added: “For those already living with mental illness and distress, a situation like this can make everyday life an even greater struggle than it already is. This is why Jami and the services we offer are such a vital resource for the community.”

Jami has also partnered with clinical psychologist and trauma expert Dr Stuart Linke in response to the heightened anxiety that many Jewish people have experienced. Linke and Jami’s head of education and suicide prevention, Philippa Carr, have given joint presentations to about 700 people in the community, through synagogues including Stanmore and Canons Park, Woodford Forest and United Synagogue communities in Hertfordshire, as well as organisations such as UJIA, British Emunah and the Board of Deputies.

Carr has joined with the Board of Deputies, CST, Jewish Leadership Council and PaJeS to help launch the guide Top Tips to Manage Your Anxiety and Maintain Psychological Wellbeing, which was written by Dr Nikki Scheiner and Dr Amanda Lurie. Carr’s work aims to help people to normalise what they have been feeling, provide advice on how to cope and guidance on self-care.

Jami has also hosted a support event for 50 people who were flown out of Israel, some of whom personally witnessed the Hamas attacks.

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