Opinion: Mental health professionals expect to treat more people as Israelis lose their income, are trapped in abusive situations or suffer from loneliness, but our unity, mutual care and a shared destiny can help us emerge from this pandemic stronger and kinder to one another

A woman hugs her dog in Tel Aviv amid the coronavirus crisis
A woman hugs her dog in Tel Aviv amid the coronavirus crisis

A day after the government announced the easing of some restrictions imposed on Israelis due to the coronavirus pandemic, and while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims that there will be a careful and gradual shift to a “coronavirus routine,” people are still confused about what they can or cannot do.

But the myriad of problems society is now facing is also a cause of confusion and concern.

Many Israelis have lost their income, hundreds of thousands will be needing to find work in the coming months. These newly impoverished people will be trying to put food on their tables.

Schools and universities, some of which have been attempting to keep up their curriculum with online classes, will likely not be opening their campuses any time soon – keeping students of all ages at home.

The numbers of violence and abuse cases are a powder keg just waiting to explode – especially in families that were already suffering from such problems.

The fact that the abusers and their victims are forced to remain in close quarters has only added to the despair.

Relationships have been challenged and divorce rates are estimated to rise and reported cases of depression and anxiety are also growing.

Anyone over 60 has been isolated from families and friends, compounding the loneliness that often comes with advanced years, with no reprieve in sight.

מבצע חלוקת המזון לקשישים בצל התפשטות נגיף הקורונה
A volunteer delivers food to an elderly woman living alone (Photo: GPO)


A friend recently told me she had come across graffiti that read: “Yearning for loved ones is also an underlying health concern.”

And in fact, our emotional endurance, especially for those suffering the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, should be considered.

Data shows some one million people will be seeking emotional support and professionals say they expect to see many cases of post-traumatic stress. Even the health maintenance organizations say they may offer up to three counseling sessions free of charge for those in need.

History has taught us that our personal ability to overcome extreme distress often increases when we have a shared experience with other members of our society.

We already see that a movement is emerging among small business owners desperate for any assistance that could prevent financial ruin, one that might become a political force.

הפגנת ענף הטיפוח והיופי בתל אביב
Small business owners protest in Tel Aviv (Photo: Yariv Katz)


From their struggle, we can learn about the power we have as citizens to fight for what is rightfully ours.

This is especially true when our leadership is more concerned with their own political survival and the benefits rather than with the needs of the public they have sworn to serve.

Our unity, mutual care and a shared destiny can become the source of strength we all need and may create a better and more cohesive society when we emerge from this trying period.

As reported by Ynetnews