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Coronavirus Israel BLOG

Emotional Health of Gap Year Students in Israel


With the gap year approaching, it's time to prepare for the upcoming year. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the gap year will be different than previous years. This year might present a new set of emotional and mental struggles. Students might be worried about leaving their families during a global pandemic.

Common Gap Year stressors include:

1. Trying to make friends

2.Academic pressure

3. Coronavirus scares & being alone in a new country.

4. Financial responsibility

5. Changes in relationships, including family relationships

This list can potentially lead to a lot of stress even for the most even-tempered person.If a student has experienced depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or has been diagnosed with a personality disorder or mental illness it is understandable that the year in Israel can be a huge challenge.

"In 2015, about 3 million teens ages 12 to 17 had had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the [US] Department of Health and Human Services. More than 2 million report experiencing depression that impairs their daily function. About 30% of girls and 20% of boys--totaling 6.3 million teens--have had an anxiety disorder, according to data from the [US] National Institute of Mental Health."

Unfortunately, even though emotional problems are so common, there is still a perceived stigma to report emotional and/or a mental problem to schools before the student arrives.This is a big mistake - but it's not too late to rectify now.

It is also common to experience anxiety or depression during an unknown pandemic. The situation in the world is constantly changing, so it is impossible to anticipate what will happen during the year. It is important during this year to reach out to friends, family, counselors, and mental health experts.

EMA Care assists students arriving with emotional problems to continue with therapy, medication, and counseling while in Israel.Almost every program, yeshiva, and seminary, has a mental health go-to person.Discretion and privacy is upheld to the highest professional level. At the parents' request, in some schools the head of the yeshiva or seminary is not told about the emotional issue, keeping it as private as possible. The undisputed fact is students that report their emotional health history and get the support they need (starting from as early in the year as possible) finish their year successfully at a higher rate than the students and parents who do not disclose an emotional issue.

If you are hesitating to discuss your child's emotional health with their school or with a professional in Israel, please call EMA Care now. We have mental health case managers on staff who specialize in supporting students in Israel, and the resources needed to support your student/child.We will alleviate your fears and worries and most importantly get your child the emotional support he/she needs to have a successful, healthy year in Israel.By getting your child help now, he/she will learn the life skills necessary to cope with difficult thoughts and feelings.You will be enabling your child not only to successfully finish the year, but to thrive in future endeavors.

It is important to discuss your child's mental health state with the schools and prepare them to give your child all of the care they need! It is also to prepare your child for the upcoming year and let them know that you will be there to help them!! 

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