The Dearth of Care in the South for Teens with Mental Illness
Some 600 teenagers per year are hospitalized in Israel for psychiatric problems. However, due to a shortage in facilities, many youth are released and returned home before their problems are fully treated. Dozens of other mentally ill youth do not require hospitalization, but do require some type of care, which they often receive at home. In both cases, the home environment is often unsuitable for proper treatment since the families of these teenagers suffer from their own problems and cannot provide the support and appropriate framework required to best address the situation. In 1999, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs determined that there is a severe lack of hospitalization and outpatient facilities for teenagers. The problem in the South is particularly acute.
Expanding an Excellent Service - Building a New Village
The Adanim Association ran a small hostel in Be'er Sheva out of temporary and crowded premises. The Rashi Foundation decided to join Adanim in a project to construct a larger, custom-built facility to provide relief to up to 60 youngsters with mental disorders, their families and the over-burdened health services. The site of the new village is at the Beit Kama junction, 10 miles north of Be'er Sheva in the Negev region.
With the completion of stage 1 in August 2006 the village opened its doors to residents, some of whom had been treated at Adanim's previous facility in Be'er Sheva. Since then, more teens have joined, some released from psychiatric hospitals after long periods of treatment, and others coming from home or therapeutic settings. The goal and purpose of Adanim Village is to provide the best treatment and services for these vulnerable teenagers so that they can rejoin society at large and live independently.
Status of Adanim
Today, there are 56 young residents (one third are girls and two thirds are boys) who have been referred by the welfare services, mostly in the south of the country. A large percentage of the residents suffer from mental illness and behavioral issues, and they cannot remain in their homes. In some cases, the mental illness has reached a crisis point and the sufferer has been hospitalized in psychiatric wards. Many are victims of abuse, which took place in their homes, schools, neighborhoods and elsewhere.
There are 48 staff members who were hired and trained during last summer. A personal treatment plan is created for each resident. Adanim has also begun working with the residents' families in an effort to advance the rehabilitation process.
Rashi and Adanim are engaged in planning the physical expansion of the village, in order to increase its capacity and to continue improving the services it provides to young people suffering from mental illness.