As we have seen around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant negative impact on youth mental health. Our partnership region in Israel is no different.
Mirroring what we are seeing globally, youth who may have already been suffering from anxiety or depression, or may lack coping skills or not have a comprehensive support system, have been hit particularly hard.
The Mervo’ot HaHermon Regional Council is seeing a significant increase in dangerous behaviours from youth, particularly those who have lost their routines and social opportunities, and who may not have supportive adults in their lives. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the municipality has been inundated with requests for support in cases of violence, self harm, and substance abuse, with an increase in demand for support up 35%.
In response to this growing need and based on of a successful pilot program in the spring of 2021, Jewish Federation is supporting the council’s youth department in enhancing their counselling services and creating new educational and social programming. By providing teens with a sense of stability, routine, in-person social activities and a trusted adult again, the hope is that this early intervention can redirect them on a healthier path.
“We want to help kids in the moshavim get back on track by alleviating their sense of isolation, confusion, and lack of hope, which often leads to at-risk behaviours like alcohol and drug abuse,” said Benny Ben-Muvchar, Mayor of the Mevo’ot Hahermon Regional Municipality
Just as Jewish Federation invests strategically in our local community’s youth to ensure a thriving community in the future, we have made it a priority to do the same in our partnership region. Through the Annual Campaign we provide young people with the support, opportunities, and leadership development that they need, so they will be better positioned to take the Upper Galilee to the next level.