“I could never have imagined that we would find ourselves in such a difficult situation.” “We spend 1,400 dinars a day on hospital stays that could have been avoided at the beginning,” he said.
“The war has led to an unprecedented situation in the field of mental health. We once again call on the Ministry of Health to take a leading role in harmonizing and consolidating all Israeli entities dealing with this issue,” said Committee Chairman Yoni Mashriki.
The Committee was presented with disturbing statistics showing the inability of the mental health system to cope with the scale of the massacre on 7 October in communities along the Gaza border. Information indicated that before the start of the war, Israel’s public mental health system was already severely lacking.
“This was evident in persistent complaints of severe budget shortfalls, staff shortages, prolonged waiting periods for psychotherapeutic or psychiatric care, and weak infrastructure in mental health hospitals. This was combined with a persistent absence of data to facilitate understanding of the system’s functionality.” , the board was told
The leaked information also revealed that “the Ministry of Health does not have comprehensive data on everyone who has received psychological care since the start of the war. It remains unclear when such information will be collected and what it will include, for example whether it will include psychological support and treatment offered by non-governmental organizations.” . Furthermore, the Ministry of Health has no projections on the extent of expected needs moving forward.”
“The war represents a national mental health crisis.” We have already seen a significant increase in demand for mental health services and support, and we expect this trend to continue. Effective and rapid intervention could potentially reduce the need for long-term emergency care by 50%,” said Moshe Bar Siman Tov, Director General of the Ministry of Health.
“Support should be patient-centered, involving the community, family and education system, and of course, should be tailored to each individual.” The Ministry of Finance recognized the need for a significant increase in remuneration for psychologists in the public sector. the number of psychiatrists, both for adults and children, will also receive a noticeable increase”.
Before the debate, members of the Knesset noted that “in response to the expected increase in demand, there must also be a proportional increase in nursing staff, a workforce that was already in significant short supply before the war began.” It should be noted that this field of mental health care in Israel is worked by different professionals, with specific roles such as psychiatrists or medical and rehabilitation psychologists who face a general shortage throughout the economy. In contrast, other professions are primarily underrepresented in the public sector.”
Member of Knesset Tatjana Mazarski, from the Yesh Atid party and a participant in the discussion, noted: “While mental health expenditures in OECD countries typically account for 8% to 12% of their health budgets, in Israel they have so far accounted for only 5%.” Why is this the case? We urgently need to reabsorb psychologists and specialists into the public system, and not resort to unprofessional alternatives such as employing psychology students for initial treatments. Such a practice should be avoided because unprofessional care can lead to damage, causing damage to health that can be difficult to remove later.”
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