Schreiber, Merritt D. “Toward the Way Forward: Building an Emergency Mental Health System for Israel.” Israel Journal of Health Policy Research (early view; online first).
A number of related changes have evolved over the past 25 years: the development of a truly national disaster mental health service in Israel; progress in the science of risk, resilience and evidence base care for those suffering from traumatic stress related disorders; and the development of conceptual models of population level disaster mental health response in the context of emergency management systems such as the Incident Command System.
In a recent IJHPR article, Bodas, et al. report on the dynamic history of disaster mental health response in Israel, which informed by the all too numerous real world events affecting the region. What is most striking is that the system now in place reflects true “lessons learned” in that problems and issues identified in incidents informed deliberative planning, and the current system reflects many iterations of “lessons observed and learned”. There appears to be commitment across sectors of government in Israel that the mental health consequences of disasters and terrorism are important and a priority. This is advanced thinking and sound policy.
As the system in Israel continues to evolve, additional possibilities are offered for further consideration, based on the author’s US-centric experience, to advance emergency response systems in Israel, the Middle East and around the world.