Herzog Hospital Opens MEITIV
Meitiv – First Walk-in Crisis Center in Israel
treats people in emotional crisis
without referral or appointment and free of charge
MEITIV, the first Walk-in Crisis Center in Israel, was recently opened in Jerusalem by Herzog Hospital. The Center provides immediate psychological counseling for the trauma caused by terrorist attacks, and the full range of life cycle emotional issues, without the need for referral or appointment, and free of charge.
Initially developed to help individuals suffering from the stress and trauma caused by the ongoing terrorist attacks, the Center is already seeing people coming in with problems ranging from the death of a loved one, to divorce and job dismissals. One of the unique aspects of the Center’s services is the immediate availability of assistance throughout the day and evening. Individuals now don’t have to wait for an official referral from their doctor or Health Insurance Fund in order to be seen by a mental health professional when confronted with a difficult emotional issue that they can’t cope with and need someone to talk to immediately.
Meitiv is part of Herzog Hospital’s Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma, headed by Dr. Danny Brom. The Center has received major initial funding from the UJA Federation of New York and Temple Sinai in Los Angeles.
Meitiv staff includes psychologists and social workers, specialized in short-term focused interventions in crises. Many trained volunteers have also been recruited to help with the initial intake and to support individuals coming to the Center until they can be seen by a staff person. The Center is open Sunday to Thursday from 8:30AM to 9:00PM, Fridays until 13:00.
After the most recent terror attack in Jerusalem, Meitiv automatically converted to functioning like a psychological emergency room, with additional staff coming in to help people deal with the shock and trauma. Meitiv’s phone number and address were routinely announced on Israeli TV and radio as a place to go for psychological assistance, in addition to the listing of hospital emergency rooms where the injured were taken. Individuals who were not directly physically injured such as eyewitnesses, people affected by previous terror attacks, or just people who were overwhelmed emotionally by the attack and needed someone to speak to, were advised to go to Meitiv. Until Meitiv’s opening, such individuals would flock to hospital emergency wards, which essentially treat the physical injuries, and are not geared to handle exclusively psychological problems caused by attacks.
Some examples of problems the Crisis Center has already handled: A mother who’s daughter was killed in an accident several months earlier became despondent after hearing the news about the terrorist attack, and felt very much alone.
She values the opportunity to “just be with warm and understanding people” when she needs it. She leaves with a good feeling, knowing that she now has a place, where she will receive therapy and support. A second individual is a 43 year old man, who comes from a very difficult background, with parents who were physically ill all of his life. His only sister died a number of years ago and he often feels deeply depressed. He has been unemployed for a while. A year ago he witnessed a bombing in town and these images keep haunting him at different hours of the day. He referred himself to MEITIV, reporting suicidal thoughts and plans, and asking for immediate help. The staff did crisis intervention over a few hours, talking with him and conveying support and empathy. This so much impressed him that he started opening up and sharing his anguish. He said that he had not experienced the possibility of just walking in and finding people who were really interested in him. A plan was made for him for the next few days. He agreed to come in the following day for additional counseling.
Herzog Hospital’s Meitiv Walk-In Crisis Center has now gone through its first emergency test response to a terrorist attack, and has already assisted over 200 people in its first month of operation
The Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma is the leading force in Israel providing trauma counseling services, therapy and educational training seminars for mental health professionals throughout the country.
Herzog Hospital is the foremost geriatric and mental health hospital in Israel maintaining 330 beds, and located at the entrance to Jerusalem. It is ideally positioned to initiate Meitiv as it already maintains wide ranging mental health services, both at the hospital, and at it Community Mental Health Center which treats 2000 people each month on an out-patient basis.