The mental epidemic of the corona era is still with us, and the ARAN organization – which has been operating the largest psychological help line in Israel 24/7 all year round – operates since the outbreak of the corona crisis in an emergency format, which has already become routine. Daily and a tens of percent increase in the suicide rate.
In order to expand the discreet response of ARN volunteers, which has so far been provided by phone and on the Internet, the association decided to use the popular WhatsApp messaging service, with special emphasis on youth and young people aged 12.24, as well as adults with families aged 35.55. They were defined by the association as “at.risk populations, whose treatment and assistance must be deepened in the coming years, due to the upheaval and uncertainty experienced by the outbreak of the corona crisis, during Operation The Wall Guard, and to this day.”
Today marks World Mental Health Day, and ARN data, which we publish for the first time, show that since the beginning of 2021, according to the cross.section of referrals to the association’s help lines by youth and young people: 27% of referrals are for mental pain, depression or acute mental distress, 15% The referrals are mainly due to loneliness and 16% of the young referrals are directly related to Corona, anxiety, trauma or loss. All of these are trends that worsened during the epidemic. Suicide.
The Aran further reports that during the whole of 2020 there was a 25% increase in the referral rate of adolescents, in addition to a 102% increase in the referral rate of young people aged 18.24 compared to the previous year. A social group that rarely seeks help, so it is estimated that with the accessibility of the service, the number of applicants will continue to skyrocket.
Since last April, the WhatsApp assistance service has operated as an experimental program, during which the association has trained dozens of volunteers to provide a response tailored to the nature of the discourse on the platform, and since then there has been a significant increase in applicants from 521 in April to 1,429 in August.
David Koren, CEO of ARAN, says: “The Corona epidemic and Operation Wall Guard took the mental distress out of the closet. People and populations who have never faced acute emotional distress approached us and reported anxiety, loneliness, depression and helplessness. We call on the youth. And for adolescents who feel distressed not to hesitate and turn to our new service, and for adults and teachers to be vigilant, and in cases where distress is identified to immediately notify those young people who have someone to turn to. ”
The ARN hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, all year round. The national telephone number is 1201. To contact the WhatsApp hotline, click here.