Our media achive back from June 2016
Melbourne and Sydney editions
6 June 2016
13 May 2016
8 April 2016
7 April 2016
OPINION COLUMN, Dr Fortu Benarroch, director of paediatric and adolescent post trauma treatment at the JCIC.
In all my years working in Jerusalem as a child psychologist, I can honestly say I have never known times like these. And because of the close connection between the Australian community and the Jerusalem Crisis Intervention Centre (JCIC), which has become such an important part of Israeli society, I feel it is important that I share our story with you.
Israel has known wars. With each one we have learned how to anticipate them, how to fight them and, mainly, how to succeed. But we are currently in a war where there are no rules and no way to anticipate when the next attack will come.
The reality is that almost every day there is a terrorist attack on the streets of Israel. But the problems run much deeper than the physical injury as a result of these random knife and gun attacks. We are seeing the damage that is being inflicted on every part of society; from traumatised children and the effect this is having on their families, to a new generation being bred on fear and hate.
The damage will only become harder to undo and become more exaggerated in generations to come. As psychologists, we are working on the frontline of this battle. If we are armed with the right strategies and resources we can win this war – for our children and their children. In order to successfully play our role, we need to address our biggest problems; a backlog of work, interrupted treatments and a lack of resources.
When a child is presented to the emergency room after a terror attack, we are the first to offer psychological intervention. Most go on to display post-traumatic symptoms, which require further treatment in our clinic at Hadassah Hospital.
In this current wave of terror, there has been a huge increase in the number of patients – not just children who are physically injured in terror attacks, but those who witnessed it or have an affected family member who requires treatment.
As a result of the current situation, children who have been affected or treated for traumatic events in the past are now suffering a relapse of their symptoms and seeking help. Like previous intifadas, these children fear travelling on a bus, being in a crowded place or going to a cafe.
Even more problematic are the children currently undergoing treatment who are now experiencing a decrease in function. This is causing an interruption to their therapeutic process. These problems are not just limited to Jerusalem. Communities all over Israel are desperately trying to manage the situation.
This has seen our biggest demand for training programs to assist children who are developing chronic psychological problems. These children fear travelling on a bus, being in a crowded place or going to a cafe. Most of the current tension is coming from East Jerusalem, where there is a large Arab population.
There is constant pressure from border police, there is widespread propaganda encouraging children to commit violent acts, and there are parents living in fear wondering whether their children will end up in prison or dead.
With very few psychologists and social workers, there isn’t the infrastructure to manage the boiling pot that is East Jerusalem. Our priority is to cater to our entire population. We ensure we always have trained Arab staff on hand to treat children and their families who have been exposed to stressful events.
Currently we are trying to focus on working groups for children who have not yet committed crimes but are considered “at risk”; those with behavioural problems, missing school attendance or even showing the possibility of leaking into the terror networks.
The JCIC has invited 25-30 social workers from all the welfare offices in East Jerusalem to come to one centre where I will conduct a series of one-day workshops with one of our trained Arab social workers, to prepare these workers to be as effective as possible in this stressful situation. Also, this display of cooperation – a Jew and an Arab coming together to teach this workshop – sends an important message.
The JCIC has also started conducting workshops in the community to empower parents and give them the skills to improve the resilience of their children if exposed to traumatic events. We are also continuing an outreach service that began during the war with Gaza in 2014.
It continues to be particularly important for communities that are “in the line of fire” who receive treatment close to home by resident teams, which include art and music therapists, social workers and educators. On a personal level, this has been one of the most challenging times in my career. In the past, we were doing regular clinical work with some community interventions.
Now we are doing many more interventions but with the same number of professionals. And we are living in Jerusalem, surrounded by all the pressure and tension. In this extremely challenging period, I am always thinking of our staff to make sure they are in the best state of mind to deliver the most effective treatment.
We need to be aware of things like “compassion fatigue” or “secondary traumatisation”. Despite the demand on our services reaching breaking point, we go on, but with an immediate future that will only test our ability to meet the needs of those most vulnerable in Jerusalem and Israel. Here I appeal to you, our dearest friends, to continue supporting us on our journey of healing.
13 November 2015
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
As the first point of healthcare contact for most people, GPs are often relied upon to diagnose and manage patients who have experienced a traumatic event. While those who work in areas such as the military and emergency services often come to mind when considering posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its associated mental health issues, there are many other instances in which it can and should be examined. “GPs see a lot of patients who have experienced trauma, whether it is road accidents, workplace injuries, violence, domestic violence, child abuse, refugees or war-related trauma,” Professor Danielle Mazza, Head of the Department of General Practice at Monash University, told Good Practice.
16 October 2015
The Maccabean, Perth, 16 October 2015
The Australian Jewish News, 16 October 2015
9 October 2015
Perth, 18 September 2015
7 May 2015
Israeli medical clowns bring smiles to Nepalese earthquake victims
Israel didn’t just send medical and rescue staff to Nepal in the wake of the earthquake, it also sent therapeutic clowns. MORE
Melbourne, 12 January 2015
A war of words has broken out between Weekend Sunrise hosts Andrew O’Keefe and Monique Wright and a British doctor, Qanta Ahmed [pictured here], who says she was “stitched up” by the show. Ahmed, who appeared on Weekend Sunrise in November to promote Project Rozana, an initiative training doctors treating children at Israel’s Hadassah hospital, slammed the program makers for reducing her “to an instrument of rank media opportunism”…