Increased Covid-19 helpline calls in strictly-Orthodox community

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Increased Covid-19 helpline calls in strictly-Orthodox community

Stamford Hill-based charity Bikur Cholim helped 'a few hundred people on the line' with a Yiddish-speaking therapist running a session

Stock photo of a telephone
Stock photo of a telephone

Hundreds of Orthodox Jews in north London have been dialling into special advice and information calls about Covid-19 and parenting, with organisers saying many choose to seek therapy subsequent to them.

Bikur Cholim, based in Stamford Hill, said it had “a few hundred people on the line” with a Yiddish-speaking therapist running a session explaining at the end what mental health services the charity offers and where people can turn to if they need more support, which has led to a surge in requests for support, say charity bosses.

“In response to Covid-19 we set up two separate services,” says Yocheved Eiger. “One is a single session of therapy for people who need additional support. Quite a few of them have gone on to have more than one session. I think they came in because a single session sounded less stigmatising.

“There has definitely been an increase in calls to the helpline. Young parents find the lockdown increasingly challenging. Many want short-term or telephone support but will have therapy when children go back to school. We’ve seen quite a bit of that.”

“We’ve also seen a lot of bereavement, people who aren’t quite ready for support yet. For example we have one woman who was in hospital with Covid-19. Whilst she was there her husband died, also from Covid.

“She’s focusing on her physical recovery and just hasn’t come to terms at all with it [her husband’s death]. We’ve been helping her but know she’ll need a lot of ongoing support. We just don’t know at what stage she’ll be ready to face, you know…”


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