Twenty-six per cent of people have cited the Middle East war as a factor for seeking mental health support from Jami. These are individuals with pre-existing mental illness whose symptoms have been exacerbated by the crisis.
This figure was revealed in the initial assessment that new service users undergo to determine their background, current situation and what they may need support with.
Louise Kermode, Jami’s director of services, said: “The horrific events in Israel and Gaza and the rising antisemitism that it has sparked, have impacted so many members of the community. People are feeling devastated, overwhelmed and are experiencing sadness and anger. For those already living with mental illness and distress, a situation like this can make everyday life an even greater struggle than it already is. This is why Jami and the services we offer are such a vital resource for the community.”
In response to the heightened anxiety that many Jewish people have experienced, Jami has also formed a partnership with consultant clinical psychologist and trauma expert, Dr Stuart Linke. Dr Linke, together with Jami’s head of education and suicide prevention, Philippa Carr, have presented to about 700 people in the community, through synagogues including Stanmore and Canons Park, Woodford Forest and United Synagogue communities in Hertfordshire, as well as organisations such as UJIA and British Emunah Fund, the Jewish Chronicle and Board of Deputies.
Jami also hosted a support event for 50 people who were flown out of Israel, including people who personally witnessed the Hamas attacks. The emphasis was on creating a supportive and safe environment. Some chose to talk a little about how they were feeling; others were happy to be in a safe space where children could play and families could get ‘light touch’ emotional support.
Philippa has also written articles in multiple Jewish newspapers, and partnered with the Board of Deputies, CST, Jewish Leadership Council and PaJes to help launch a “Top Tips to Manage Your Anxiety and Maintain Psychological Wellbeing” guide.
The aim of all of Philippa’s work has been to help people to normalise what they’ve been feeling, to provide advice on how to cope, and guidance around self-care.
If you need support or are supporting someone who needs help, visit jamiuk.org/get-support/ or contact 020 8458 2223
If you are struggling to cope or need immediate help, contact Shout’s 24/7 crisis text service. Text Jami to 85258 for free, confidential support.
For free, safe and confidential online counselling and emotional wellbeing services for adults, contact Jami Qwell at www.qwell.io/jami