Yeshiva University launches mental health center for English speakers in Jerusalem

The center aims to address the pressing mental health needs of English-speaking immigrants – from gap-year students to lone soldiers and more.

Lone soldier (photo credit: REUTERS)
Lone soldier
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Yeshiva University announced the launch of a new mental health center on Monday. The Jerusalem Therapy Center, which opened in Jerusalem in late October, offers mental health counseling for English-speaking residents of Israel. 

The center is operated in partnership with YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work and Amudim Israel – a social services organization serving individuals and families impacted by trauma, addiction and other complex mental health-related issues. 

The center aims to address the pressing mental health needs of English-speaking immigrants – from gap-year students away from home for the first time and new immigrants struggling to adjust to life in Israel to those suffering psychologically from pandemic-related fatigue and depression. 

“Our community is in real need of mental health services,” said Nechama Munk, director of Wurzweiler's 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.”

"Getting good, affordable treatment is challenging for all Israelis, and even more so when your mother tongue isn’t Hebrew.”

-Nechama Munk, director of YU’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work Israel Program.

 Nechama Munk, Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work Israel Program Director. (credit: YESHIVA UNIVERSITY) Nechama Munk, Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work Israel Program Director. (credit: YESHIVA UNIVERSITY)

Support for temporary arrivals, English speakers

Gap-year students who come to Israel for studies after high school and lone soldiers are the new center’s priority. These groups are away from their families and familiar support systems, often for the first time, and are not usually covered for mental health counseling by temporary health insurance.

For many in Israel’s English-speaking community, dealing with mental health issues can be complicated and confusing. Diagnosis and treatment, let alone locating appropriate English-speaking practitioners, can be difficult – and navigating and understanding the mental health services offered through the health system proves challenging to young, new residents.

Recognizing the challenges faced by English speakers in Israel, Wurzweiler co-sponsored a Mental Health Expo in Jerusalem in May, which attracted over 1,500 participants. The large turnout was just one of many catalysts for opening the Jerusalem Therapy Center.

“This is an exceptional opportunity to connect to YU’s larger mission of serving the needs of those living in Israel,” said Dr. Selma Botman, YU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “As a world-renowned institution, YU is proud to provide exceptional training, support and expertise to the people of Israel.”