— Zvi Gluck – CEO Amudim Community Resources
In an effort to address the mental health component of COVID-19, Amudim is releasing an all new PSA video titled A Life Worth Living. A not-for-profit which provides comprehensive clinical case management to people in the Orthodox community who struggle with addiction, abuse and severe mental health issues, Amudim works hard to foster public awareness and eliminate stigmas that prevent many from seeking vital treatment. Five PSA videos, two music videos, hundreds of public awareness events, op-eds and articles have opened conversation on abuse, addiction and mental health topics that were once taboo in the insular, family-centered Orthodox Jewish community. Expanding its efforts into prevention, Amudim has also introduced school-based programs to empower and educate students in grades five through twelve using social and emotional competency learning programs.
Amudim’s latest PSA video is a Multiple Outlet Production directed and produced by Yeeshai Gross, with screenwriting by the organization’s clinical advisory board. “Historically, Amudim’s award-winning videos were extremely effective tools in destigmatizing issues rarely discussed and educating the public on an array of mental health struggles,” explains Zvi Gluck, founder and director of Amudim. “A Life Worth Living is another powerful weapon in our arsenal in the war against the ongoing crisis, one that we hope will reassure viewers that help is just a phone call away.”
The need for services, including hiring additional staff to handle the increased call volume, helping those who cannot afford the cost of therapy or treatment, and identifying housing or instituting safety measures for those who cannot live at home, has soared by percentages. In addition to the incoming calls to its regular office number, Amudim’s newly launched anonymous support line has fielded over 1,850 calls since its inception on March 22nd and literally saved lives among people struggling with coronavirus-related issues including abuse and suicide. Incredibly, seventy-five percent of callers reported that their immediate mental health crisis was resolved in a single conversation with a licensed professional, while the remainder was referred for ongoing care.
With the crisis not limited to the United States, Amudim recognized the importance of availing its support line to Anglos in Israel as well. In short time, they created a hotline in Israel staffed by English-speaking mental health professionals. Since being launched, the Israeli support line has become an invaluable resource to the Anglo community, facilitating many in coping with adversity.
While working nonstop to address the mental-health needs of the Orthodox community, Gluck notes that there were many beautiful lessons gained from the experience. “Even amid the darkness of COVID-19, we’ve seen so many positives as our community rose to the occasion, addressing issues of bereavement, unemployment and hunger, and orchestrating and performing mind-blowing acts of kindness and charity.”
On the other hand, he notes, “People confronting mental health issues, domestic violence and challenges of recovery have yet to be embraced by the mainstream, a problem that we at Amudim observe far too frequently.”
Others in the mental health field have born witness to similar points. Furthermore, while there has been mention of coronavirus-related mental health issues in the media, this particular aspect of the pandemic is not receiving the attention it deserves.
Over the last two-and-a-half months, shares Gluck, “Our dedicated staff and volunteers have redefined the phrase ‘public service,’ rising to the occasion despite their personal challenges. It has been inspiring to observe multiple organizations collaborating in myriad ways, uniting and working cohesively for the betterment of all humanity; and we hope that the community at large will step up to the plate and do its part to protect those in pain. As we close the door on National Mental Health Awareness Month, we pray for an end to this crisis while continuing to do everything humanly possible to raise awareness and destigmatize these issues so those struggling can hold their heads up high and seek help without fear.”
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