Musical rehab program for IDF soldiers suffering from PTSD facing closure

Between 10%-15% of injured soldiers suffer from PTSD, with about 4,000 people across Israel suffering from the condition.

Avihai Hollender (photo credit: EYAL HIRSCH)
Avihai Hollender
(photo credit: EYAL HIRSCH)
A musical education program that helps rehabilitate IDF soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is facing closure due to budget cuts caused by the coronavirus crisis.
Soul Key, a program at The Israeli Conservatory for Music in Tel Aviv, was founded five years ago and is the only program of its kind in the world, according to their press release.
Some 60 former combat soldiers, from the Yom Kippur War until Operation Protective Edge, are students in the program.
“Treating our soldiers, our sons, in hospitals - is an idea that is hard to wrap your head around, and rightly so, that is why I looked for an alternative that would allow rehabilitation in a normal environment,” said Yifat Greenwald-Cohen, an alumnus of the conservatory and a professional clinical psychologist who treats PTSD at the Sheba Medical Center who was gravely injured in the Tze'elim Disaster A training accident and helped create the Soul Key program.
“There aren’t enough words that can explain a traumatic experience," added Greenwald-Cohen. "I remember myself lying in bed in the hospital after the Tze’elim disaster, I was listening to music - and I started crying. Through the music I was able to process the mental pain and connect to it.”
Greenwald-Cohen explained that she created the program because she saw how those suffering from PTSD were often isolated and stigmatized and she wanted to create a non-stigmatized rehabilitation environment in "the heart of Israeli society."
"There is a need for social awareness and understanding of the hardships, needs and appreciation that these soldiers deserve," added Greenwald-Cohen. "People rehabilitate where there is a purpose and where there is constant progress with meaningful results. Due to the success of the 'Soul Key' program, my dream is to open several other centers across the world where there is a need to spread the message."
Between 10%-15% of injured soldiers suffer from PTSD, with about 4,000 people across Israel suffering from the condition.
Soul Key is turning to the public with a fundraising campaign asking for donations to help keep the program running during the coronavirus crisis and to help expand the program to other locations around the world.
One of the students of the program, Avihai Hollender, released a song and music video as part of the campaign called "Father can’t find peace" which discusses the pain and hardships of living with PTSD. Watch above.
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