Last Updated on:
July 14, 2022

Mental Healthcare Guide

This guide is for individuals facing mental health issues, who are looking to understand what their  healthcare rights are, and how to access their benefits. 

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or a medical emergency call the suicide hotline or emergency medical services (EMS).  

Suicide hotline: 1201 (Dial 10 for English speaking agents) 

EMS (MADA): 101    United Hatzolah: 1221

Know to ask: 

Mental health is an individual's psychological and emotional state of being. If you are struggling with mental health, you are not alone. A large proportion of Israelis-- native and immigrant alike-- suffer from mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. 

Within the Israeli healthcare system, there are many services and benefits where citizens can access needed care. This guide will provide you with clear information on treatment options, and how to receive the proper care. There is no shame in suffering from any mental illness. We encourage you to get the help you need, and find support.

Rights as an Israeli Citizen

All citizens of Israel are entitled to psychiatric, psychologic, and social work care enabled by the National Health Insurance Law of 1994. Depending on mental health status, age, and other determining factors, additional benefits can apply. Since 2015, the responsibility of providing these services has been given to the Kupot Cholim.

When to Get Help: 

There can be many reasons as to why one would seek out mental health services. It is important to note that mental health manifests itself differently person to person. Below is a list of potential indicators of mental health struggles which should be addressed through mental health services. Those suffering from mental health issues can be experiencing a combination or variation of the symptoms listed below. 

  • Chronic feeling of sadness, being down
  • Excessive emotions, lack of subtle feelings (anger, sadness, happiness) 
  • Extreme mood changes from depressive to manic emotions 
  • Change, significant decrease in energy, extreme tiredness
  • Problems with alcohol and drug abuse
  • Major changes in eating habits

Defining Mental Health Resources: 

Defining specialists: 

Psychologist Psychologists study the mental and
emotional states of patients
through psychotherapy (talk
therapy). They are unable to
prescribe medications.
In Israel, psychologists provide
psychotherapy. There are many
options (from public to private) for
such session care.
Social
Worker
Social workers aid individuals in
discussing problems they have
within their lives and ways in which
to cope with them. They also assist
in applying for disability and Sal
Shikum.
In Israel, similar to psychologists,
social workers treat mental health
through psychotherapy,
accounting for a strong proportion
of psychotherapeutic treatments.
Psychiatrist
Medical doctors with the ability to
prescribe medication. Specializes in
diagnosis, prevention, study, and
treatment of mental disorders.
In Israel, psychiatrists only work to
diagnose conditions and prescribe
medications. They do not offer any
psychotherapeutic treatments.

Mental Health Clinics within Israel:

All Kupot within Israel have mental health clinics that provide centralized services pertaining to mental health. These clinics provide psychological, psychiatric, and social work care with additional services such as occupational therapy being clinic dependent. These clinics are all subsidized with quarterly co-pays of just 35 NIS for therapy. Patients seeking initial treatment are recommended to acquire services through these mental health clinics as they provide encompassing care. 

For a list of mental health clinics in Israel, see this website:

https://www.health.gov.il/Subjects/mental_health/treatment/clinics/Pages/mental-clinics.aspx

You can also speak directly with your Kupah to find out which mental health clinic is closest to you.


Accessing Therapy Within Israel (Psychologist/Social Workers): 

Psychologist Psychologists study the mental and
emotional states of patients
through psychotherapy (talk
therapy). They are unable to
prescribe medications.
In Israel, psychologists provide
psychotherapy. There are many
options (from public to private) for
such session care.
Social
Worker
Social workers aid individuals in
discussing problems they have
within their lives and ways in which
to cope with them. They also assist
in applying for disability and Sal
Shikum.
In Israel, similar to psychologists,
social workers treat mental health
through psychotherapy,
accounting for a strong proportion
of psychotherapeutic treatments.
Psychiatrist
Medical doctors with the ability to
prescribe medication. Specializes in
diagnosis, prevention, study, and
treatment of mental disorders.
In Israel, psychiatrists only work to
diagnose conditions and prescribe
medications. They do not offer any
psychotherapeutic treatments.

Comparing Therapy Options in Israel:

Pros Cons
The
Kupah (Public)
- Extremely inexpensive compared to the alternatives
- Within Tachanat Briut Hanefesh the system, offers a “one-stop shop” with access to social workers, psychiatrists, and secretaries that specialize in mental health rights.
- Long wait times to receive a therapist, not great for urgent treatment
- A patient cannot choose their therapist
Semi-Private - Shorter wait times compared to fully public
- Of the list of contracted therapists, patients have a choice over the provider
- Cost of treatment is subsidized
- Limited to the list of therapists contracted with
your Kupah
- Although cost is subsidized, costs may still add up
Private - Patient has an unlimited choice of therapist
- There is little wait time for treatment
- A most expensive form of psychotherapeutic care

Seeing a Psychiatrists in Israel: 

Different from a psychologist, a psychiatrist is for individuals looking for medical diagnosis and pharmaceutical treatments of mental conditions. 

Options to see a psychiatrist: 

  1. Make an appointment with a kupah psychiatrist through their kupah’s website or by calling the moked (hotline) or clinic.
  2. Patients can see a psychiatrist through a mental health clinic (Tachana Briut Hanefesh). These clinics offer a full range of therapies from psychology, psychiatry, OT, and more, and are a good option for a “one stop shop”.
  3. One can see a private psychiatrist and be partially reimbursed using supplemental insurance benefits (SHABAN). The psychiatrist must be on your kupah’s list in order to receive reimbursement, and the benefit is limited to 3-4 times per year (total for all private appointments). Confirm online and/or with your medical secretary that your psychiatrist is on their list.
  4. There is always an option to go fully private. This is extremely expensive and often unnecessary given the other options, but may be relevant when seeking specific diagnoses.

Navigating a Psychiatric Crisis:

Someone dealing with a psychiatric crisis should get immediate medical attention, and go to the Emergency Room.

Types of Emergency Rooms

  1. Regular Hospital Emergency Room
  • In general you need a referral for the ER. You can get one from the kupah’s moked or nurse. If you meet certain criteria, you will be covered for the ER visit even without a referral, but it is best to get one on the way if you can. (Have a friend or family member assist you in getting one on the way to the hospital). For details of when you do not need a referral for an ER visit: https://www.kolzchut.org.il/en/Exemption_from_Emergency_Room_Costs 
  1. Psychiatric Hospitals
  • If the issue is clearly psychiatric, and you go to one of the psychiatric hospitals, no referral is necessary. 
  • For a list of psychiatric hospitals (non Emergency):

https://gethelpisrael.com/psychiatric-facilities/ 

  • See below for a list of Psychiatric Emergency Rooms in Israel.

What to Expect

  • In the ER, a psychiatrist will do an evaluation and determine the patient's level of danger to themselves or others. Medications will possibly be given.
  • Depending on the evaluation and wishes of the family, the patient will either be admitted or discharged. If admitted, it is important to be aware of the many rights of a patient in a psychiatric ward: https://www.kolzchut.org.il/en/Psychiatric_Hospitalization
  • If the patient is discharged, they will be told to see a kupah psychiatrist for further care. The ER release papers should be brought as soon as possible to the medical secretary and priority should be given for a follow-up appointment with a psychiatrist. 
  • During the stay and release from the ER, you can ask to meet with a social worker to ensure the discharge and follow up care plans are clear.

Involuntary Commitment

  • If it is determined someone is a danger to themselves or others, the district psychiatrist can order a mandatory assessment, and possibly a mandatory admittance into a psychiatric ward for up to 7 days in order to keep the person and those around them safe. Once in the psychiatric ward, the patient can appeal this mandatory admittance, but they will still be required initially to enter the psychiatric ward, if the district psychiatrist determines it necessary. 

 

Psychiatric Emergency Rooms in Israel:

Name of Center City/Area Telephone Address Ages
Mazor Aco (Acre)
04-9559608 Dukhifat St 2, Acre
Adults
Maaleh Hacarmel Haifa 04-8559267 HaEla St 17, Tirat Carmel All Ages
Shaar Menashe Haifa 04-6278777 Shaar Menashe Adults
Beer Yaakov Beer Yaakov (Merkaz) 08-9258258 Mental Health Center in
Be'er Ya'akov, נ"ברה מרכז,
Be'er Ya'akov
Adults
Lev Hasharon
(Pardesiya)
Merkaz 09-8981203 Mental Health Center
Lev Hasharon, Tzur Moshe
Adults
Nes Tziona Merkaz 08-9284074 Tarmag St 1,
Nes Tziona
All ages
Abarbenel Bat Yam (Merkaz) 03-5552600 Yehuda Abarbanel
Mental Health Medical Center
Keren Kayemet 15, Bat Yam
All ages
Eitanim Jerusalem Area 02-5705111 Eitanim Psychiatric Hospital
Eitanim 395, Israel
All Ages
Geha Petach Tikva (Merkaz) 03-9258297 Geha Mental Health Center,
1 הלסינקי ,Petah Tikva
Ages 10 and up
Shalvata Hod Hasharon
(Merkaz)
09-7478554 Shalvata Hospital, Aliyat Hano'ar St 13, Hod Hasharon All Ages

https://www.health.gov.il/Subjects/mental_health/treatment/Hospitalization/Pages/hospitals_psyc.aspx 

Benefits:

Sal Shikum (The Mental Health Rehabilitation Basket)

Eligibility - 18 years old or older
- Individuals must be over 40% disabled due to their mental illness- The percentage of disability is determined in accordance with the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) regulations
Services provided - Employment rehabilitation
- Mentoring services
- Support aid services
- Housing services
- Treatment coordinators
- Supplementary education options
- Dental services
- Social/Academic clubs and mentoring
How to Access it 1. Establishing disability
2. Constructing Rehabilitation Program
3. Regional Committee for Mental Health Rehabilitation

4. Receiving Rehabilitation Services
More information https://www.kolzchut.org.il/en/Mental_Health_Rehabilitation_Basket
https://www.kolzchut.org.il/en/Disability_Pension_and_Related_Benefits

Additional Resources:

Please note: 

All resources linked to www.yadlolim.org/healthcare are the original work of the Yad L’Olim Healthcare Division in memory of Shira Pransky z”l. 

All resources linked to www.kolzchut.org.il/en are the exclusive translations of the Yad L’Olim Healthcare Division in memory of Shira Pransky z”l. 

External links to outside resources are reputable sources, however we are not responsible for the content or any changes made.

For further information and personal assistance, please contact Yad L’Olim’s Healthcare Division at healthcare@yadlolim.org

If you still have questions feel free to email one of our health care advisors. Email: