Voice of the Jewish News: Shortfall in support for mentally ill is alarming

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EditorialMental health crisis

Voice of the Jewish News: Shortfall in support for mentally ill is alarming

This week's editorial looks at the impact of lockdown on the community's mental health, as demand soars but provision struggles to keep up

Jewish News
Mental health
Mental health

That the latest lockdown has caused or exacerbated mental ill health among Britain’s Jewish population is sadly not surprising. Our community is no different from the rest of the country.

That the community’s mental health charities say they still cannot meet demand despite increasing their provision is alarming. This means that there are Jews in the UK who need support, who we know need support, and who aren’t getting it.

If you have to wait for treatment for a physical problem – a hip replacement, for instance, or a filling in a tooth – you may feel uncomfortable but the situation is seldom dangerous. However, if you have acute anxiety or severe depression or desperate loneliness and are left to wait, the results can be far worse than disrupted sleep.

The timing is terrible. During the first lockdown people felt afraid but determined that they would do their bit, with volunteering initiatives galore, clapping in the streets for the NHS and a bout of beautiful spring weather to cheer us on our daily walks.

Lockdown 3.0 will be remembered for our sapped energy, impatience, the fatigue of familiarity, the strain of weeks feeling we have no room to move (lest we forget the joy of November), dark nights and dismal weather. 

Even those who have gone through life until now with no mental health problems whatsoever are struggling.

The community copes with most things that are thrown at it. Individuals battling the thoughts in their heads often cannot. This is not a collective threat, it is a personal one, fought by people against themselves and their situation. Redoubling our efforts to get them help is the only way to avoid tragedy.


Hats off to Hatzola for arranging vaccine drive

Jewish volunteer at the vaccination centre

After several weeks of headlines and stories about the adherence or otherwise of national coronavirus restrictions in the Charedi world, it was a pleasure this week to report on 250+ strictly-Orthodox Jews being vaccinated in north London.

Hats off to Hatzola, the emergency medical response charity credited with saving so many Jewish lives, for organising Saturday evening’s vaccination drive. We have no doubt that this, too, will in time prove to be life-saving.

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