Dominant aftermath of COVID-19 – a surge in mental health needs

(קבלת פנים למשתתפי ועידת ארגון הבריאות העולמי – מרכז סוזן דלל, ת״א).

(תמונה: עם שרת הבריאות של ספרד, קרולינה דריאס, בוועידת ארגון הבריאות העולמי בת״א).

Dear Friends, it is my pleasure to host you all at this reception, at the end of our first day of the conference.
We are in the heart of a very special neighborhood in Tel Aviv, called Neve Tzedek – very nice name indeed, which means in English – Oasis of Justice. Well, this is the first Jewish neighborhood outside of old Jaffa. So actually this is the beginning of Tel Aviv. And this place was a school for girls, and now it’s a dance center….

Dear friends, Our world, as we certainly learned over the past two years, is interconnected. What happens in one part of the world impacts us all. International collaboration is the only way we can face current challenges and prepare for the future.

Here in Israel, one of the most dominant aftermaths of the COVID-19 pandemic is a surge in mental health needs. Children and teens who spent months in front of zoom screens and out of schools are experiencing an unprecedented peak in anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
Adults as well, faced with uncertainty, unemployment and an economic crisis, are struggling to deal with their mental health.
Here in Israel, this surge in needs finds an already lacking system that’s stretched to the limit, and we are all trying to find solutions to an urgent need.

This is just one of the issues we are seeking examples and guidance from our colleagues abroad. We need to create innovative solutions and address this need, I know Israel is not alone in this struggle.
In two weeks’ time, Jews in Israel and around the world will be welcoming in the Jewish New Year, or Rosh Hashannah, followed by Yom Kipur – the day of atonement. For us, it is a time of reflection on the year that has passed and on our aspirations for the year that is approaching. And also asking forgiveness from people that we offended and hurt.

It is also a time of coming together, as family, friends, and communities. Its repeated occurrence is a reminder that we should constantly seek to improve ourselves and the world around us. I like to think that this message is very relevant to all of us here tonight.

And so, on this note, I would like to wish you all an enjoyable reception this evening, a wonderful stay here in Israel, and a successful, prosperous and healthy year ahead. Shana Tova – Happy new year!