Mental health services for Holocaust survivors: Notes from the 2009 Professional Exchange to Israel

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Abstract

Jews who survived in Nazi-occupied territory from 1939-1945 are a vanishing cohort. Nonetheless, because of advanced age, past trauma, and fears of stigmatization their increasing needs challenge existing mental health services. Because the number of survivors will shrink to zero within the next two decades, a sense of urgency pervades discussion of their care. Novel social support programs developed for Holocaust survivors show promise as avenues to reduce avoidable disability in late life associated with dementia and other mental illnesses. By drawing attention to these programs and extending their reach, it may be possible to preserve their benefits for a larger population in need beyond the last of the Holocaust survivors. The recent Professional Exchange Program to Israel sponsored by JDC-ESHEL in Israel and the Caring Commission of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York suggests such an extension is possible. This column focuses on only one aspect of the Exchange, the integration of mental health services into social programs serving Holocaust survivors in New York City and Israel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
JournalPrimary Psychiatry
Volume16
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2009

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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