Lay leaders, professionals, philanthropists, mental health experts and service-users gathered at Jami’s newly reopened Head Room café in Golders Green, for a dialogue on Mental Health Support in the Community: Comparing British and Israeli Best Practices.
Hosted by Jami and the British Friends of Herzog Medical Centre of Jerusalem, the discussion focused on different and shared challenges and opportunities that our communities have in approaching mental health treatment and support.
Dr. Yehezkel Caine, President of Herzog Medical Centre, touched on the history of community mental health in Israel, including the unique needs of Jerusalem residents. Addressing UK service provision, Louise Kermode, Director of Services for Jami, discussed Jami’s approach to person-centred care and the notion of mutually supportive communities. Kermode also stressed: “The higher the inequality rate, the worse health outcomes for us. A lot of mental health issues connect to the environment we live in.”
Zooming out, experts from Israel and the UK flagged funding and suitable housing challenges, and that an increasing number of young people are needing services and support.
There was a shared sentiment towards embracing diversity of thought and sense of tolerance when working with services-users, and a recommendation to look at different models of mental health service provision.
Representatives from both countries commended the crucial role of volunteers in delivery and support of mental health services.
Ilana Crome, Professor of Psychiatry in London, touched on the challenges of addiction, substance abuse and the need to respect psychiatry as a medical field while fostering an environment of collaboration. She added: “There have been tremendous developments of understanding the brain,” and that mental health services now need to keep up with these developments.
The need to educate doctors and other health professionals in how to approach mental health issues in the community was also raised.
Reflecting on one modality, Sophia Graham, Peer Support Co-Lead and Senior Peer Support Worker for Jami, flagged that “peer support is thriving in the UK as well as other countries”.
While the UK and Israeli health systems were structured differently, the experts recognised the value in sharing best practices and the role of international collaboration in the field as exemplified by Herzog-Metiv Israel Trauma Centre’s Peace of Mind programme that brings Israeli military veterans to the UK for in-community retreats.
Caine thanked Jami for its spirit of collaboration and said: “Much can be learnt when bringing together successful models of community mental health support between our countries.”
About the Herzog Medical Centre
Herzog Medical Center in Jerusalem is Israel’s leading center for Geriatric and Respiratory Healthcare and a world recognised centre for treatment of Mental Health and Psychotrauma. Serving the citizens and residents of the State of Israel for over 128 years, this non-profit hospital improves the lives of those suffering from life-threatening and life-altering conditions with excellent treatment and caring professionalism.
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