People often confuse empathy and sympathy. Empathy is a skill that can bring individuals together and make people feel included, while sympathy creates an uneven power dynamic and can lead to more isolation and disconnection. COVID created a unique situation where the therapist, clients, and the world was in this pandemic together.
As 2020 is coming to an end, many use the opportunity to look back and reflect, as well as look ahead and take on new year resolutions. This year has definitely had its trials and tribulations, so many are eager to turn the page on this year and hope things will just go back to “normal” however, I think it’s important to pause and take stock.
Amudim’s founder and CEO, Zvi Gluck, has much experience with crisis response and had the foresight to ensure that Amudim’s offices can run efficiently even if it had to be run remotely. When COVID-19 hit we were able to transition to working from home. The case managers, despite everything that was going on at home, worked tirelessly to meet their clients’ needs. We also realized that the community at large were going to need mental health professionals to reach out to in this extraordinary time. Someone to provide a listening, supportive ear to get them through one challenging day after another without any reprieve insight. Zvi, together with our clinical board, volunteer licensed therapists, and some very dedicated staff members got the COVID Support Hotline off the ground. People from all walks of life, those that are familiar with mental health struggles, and those that have never seen the inside of a therapist’s office reached out on the hotline for some guidance in such chaotic times.
Amudim’s caseload has grown every year since its existence, but this past year, the call volume was unprecedented. Our Board of Directors, lay leaders, and supporters, pulled through to ensure Amudim’s sustainability, and encouraged and supported the hiring of new case managers at the onset of COVID, and continue to support the hiring of new case managers to meet the need of the klal.
As challenging as these past months have been, it has been inspirational for me to see the community coming together. Many organizations worked together on a COVID task force in the attempt to help everyone’s needs get met without unnecessarily replicating services.
Our recent fundraiser, Unite to Heal, was a great success! It not only brought in a substantial amount of much-needed funds, but also generated so much awareness about addiction, abuse, and mental health issues, that in the past 2 weeks alone, our new caseload was in the triple digits. Those who are struggling can see that they are not struggling alone. They are no longer “without a voice”
As I look back on this year, I reflect on much pain and loss, but also on the amazing blessing of so many coming together to help others in need.
Myriam Lankry, LCSW
Clinical Director, Amudim