Posted on October 28, 2007 • By Naomi Ragen
Category: Social Comments Off
Over ten percent of Israel’s population suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, three times the number in America. They include the policemen who are the first to arrive at terror scenes and cannot erase the pictures from their heads. They are the battle-hard reservists who went through hell in Lebanon. They are Gush Katif evacuees. They are the school children in Sderot (a full 50 percent desperately needing psychological intervention) and children in the North, who experienced the Lebanese War. They are Ethiopian Jews who watched their children starve to death, their mothers and father die on the long trek to come home to Israel. They are people like me who, with the proper help, can get their lives back.
I first met Dr. Danny Brom, founder of the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma of Herzog Hospital, following the murder of Nachshon Wachsman. After spending the five days with Nachshon’s parents, hoping, praying and suddenly experiencing the horror of Nachshon’s loss, I found, suddenly, that it was hard for me to breathe. I would count my breaths, hoping they wouldn’t stop, wondering if I was going to survive. I learned later it was called a panic attack. It was part of post traumatic stress disorder.
Just being in the same room with Dr. Brom makes you feel better. There is something soothing about the way his long body drapes into a chair, something in the gentleness of his tone that is a balm to a troubled spirit. He gave me back my breath. I have had it ever since. I was not part of any statistic.
Neither was Ronit M., who was a young bride when she experienced the Passover Massacre in 2002 at the Park Hotel in Netanya. While neither she nor her new husband or his family suffered physical injuries, Ronit lost her period for an entire year after the terrorist attack, a year in which her dearest hope was to have her first child. She had sleep disorders, and panic attacks. She couldn’t cope with going to a hotel or a restaurant, or even to be in a private home during a seder. In the end, she and her family realized that she needed help. She too found her way to the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma. Today, Ronit is not only the mother of three, she has her joy of life back.
The Center does more than care for victims. It trains thousands of therapists, and develops nationwide programs for helping traumatized kids. Every month, they struggle to keep doing this vital work, the major part of their budget coming from private donations.
If you really want to help Israelis in the most direct way possible, I can think of no organization that does more, or will use your donation better. For more information on the organization, and to send your donation, please visit their website at: www.traumaweb.org.
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