About 100 psychologists and psychology residents demonstrated in Tel Aviv Tuesday against the delay in implementing planned reforms to the state mental health system. The demonstration - held at Magen David Square, at the intersection of King George, Allenby and Nachalat Binyamin streets - was the first by Israeli psychologists in 15 years, and the first ever in the country for the express purpose of bolstering government-funded mental health services.
The organizers of the protest claim that as a result of the delay, adult clients of the state mental health services wait an average of two months for their first appointment with a psychologist. Children and adolescents wait an average of seven months, they say.
In some areas of the country, the wait can be as long as a year, according to protest leaders.
Dana Lubinski, a resident in clinical psychology who is one of the leaders of the protest, said she and her colleagues are protesting the government's failure to guarantee access to high-quality public mental health services for all its citizens.
"The measure of a society is how it treats its weak and ill citizens, who are forced to stay in neglected, run-down buildings in crowded conditions that sometimes only cause a deterioration of their condition and physical disease, on top of their mental illness," she said.
The Health Ministry said in a statement that it is making every effort to advance the reform, which will add significant resources to the mental health system in general and the community network in particular.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now