Metiv after October 7: From Trauma First Aid to Long-Term Resilience

By Lizzy Shaanan Pikiwiki Israel, CC BY 2.5

Directly or indirectly, all Israelis were witness to Hamas’s brutal attack on Gaza communities, the murder of some 1,200 Israelis, and the kidnapping of hostages including babies and children. More than 200,000 Israelis have been displaced from their homes. Some 3 percent of the country was called up for military duty.

The feeling of shock is profound, and everyone has been affected. Parents and teachers are overwhelmed with a sea of conflicting information about how to help the children in their care.  Survivors and evacuees are receiving limited support, but it is unclear how long it will last. Growing numbers of soldiers are being exposed to the horrors of the battlefield. Mental-health professionals don’t feel equipped to deal with the situation.

As the country’s leading experts in trauma, Metiv The Israel Psychotrauma Center, is working around the clock to treat those most directly affected; train mental-health professionals in trauma treatment; and support parents, teachers, and community members to help children deal with varying levels of exposure to trauma. Our workload has quadrupled and is continuing to grow. And we are not just increasing the volume of our work, but are developing new, creative ways to meet urgent needs while forming a long-term program for restoring resilience in communities across Israel.

Right now, we are offering:

  • Help for parents: Professional support for trauma-informed childcare, offered to more than 4,000 parents via Whatsapp with follow-up for cases that need more individual assistance, as well as webinars on the needs of children and adolescents in the current situation reaching thousands more.
  • Training for mental-health professionals: After the October 7 massacre, we were contacted by more than 2,500 psychologists and social workers asking for our help. In response to a request from the Ministry of Health and the Council of Psychologists, we created a three-session course in psychological first response. We launched the course within two weeks after the attacks and have trained 1,200 psychologists. We are also offering condensed versions of our trauma therapy trainings for mental-health professionals, lectures to professional audiences, and supervision for therapists unaccustomed to treating trauma.
  • Guidance for the community: We are providing dozens of one-time trainings for organizations that are serving trauma survivors, from local social-service agencies to government ministries working to find housing for evacuees, to rabbis supporting the Netzach Yehuda battalion of Haredi soldiers deployed to Gaza.
  • Assistance to Evacuees: Three of our mental health professionals are staying in a hotel accompanying 1,500 elderly and vulnerable people evacuated from Sderot, who are at risk of being left without help when government support run out. Beyond individual treatment, they are providing workshops on methods for dealing with prolonged stress for the hotel staff and others who engage with the evacuees, training volunteers, setting up trauma-informed play spaces in different hotels where the evacuees are staying, and more.
  • Increased treatment for adults, including PTSD treatment for soldiers: The number of requests for treatment in our Adult Clinic has skyrocketed, and that number will only grow as the Ministry of Defense and the National Insurance Institute refer more soldiers, survivors, and bereaved family members to us for treatment.
  • Supporting Soldiers: Metiv’s Peace of Mind program is operating an emotional support hotline for soldiers and veterans. At the request of the IDF, Peace of Mind is running focused short-term interventions for groups returning from or going to the battlefield.

 

The cost of these emergency measures alone is $100,000 per month, in addition to Metiv’s regular operations, and without taking into account the work that will be needed to help the country emerge from this traumatic event. Metiv is now launching a major initiative to increase community resilience in Israel, as individual therapy cannot be considered a solution to this collective trauma.

 We cannot get through this alone

We at Metiv are calling for support from every community that we can reach so we can continue to support those who need it the most in these dark and unprecedented days. If we have learned anything from our country since we began our work in 1989, it’s that our resilience and strength stems from the support we give each other. To make a donation, click here or look for us on JGive.com.

For more information, contact Gayle Meyers, Director of Development and Partnerships

gayle@metiv.org

+972.50.931.7575

 

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