According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in seven children ages 10-19 experiences a mental disorder, accounting for 13% of health-related issues in this age group. In many cases, children and adolescents experience both medical and psychiatric issues, which require the joint expertise of both disciplines. These can include eating disorders, self-harming behaviors, and more. Unfortunately, this type of cooperation is often limited in many healthcare institutions, as physical and mental care are traditionally separated.
With advances in research and treatment across both fields, it has become evident that this division is untenable. Sheba recognized the need for a comprehensive approach when treating children and adolescents, and adopted a patient-centered, holistic methodology that addresses the whole person. However, this requires introducing new training procedures, workflow, and suitable facilities.
Sadly, the need for child psychiatric care within an acute hospital is ever-growing. This growth stems from several factors:
- Increased awareness amongst parents.
- Early detection and diagnosis (which means children enter the system earlier than in the past).
- A higher prevalence of psychiatric problems caused by increased exposure to harmful influences.
To address this need, Sheba’s new Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, designed to address the different needs of children and youth under one roof, opened its gates in 2021. With your help, the Unit can continue to grow, optimize the care provided to children and adolescents suffering from mental health problems, and give them a real chance at a happy, fulfilling life.
The New Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit: A New Hope
With the support of the Israeli Ministry of Health, as well as future contributions from our donors and friends, Sheba aspires to maintain the first psychiatry unit in Israel that is part of an acute care hospital (as opposed to a psychiatric hospital).
This allows us to:
- Hospitalize severely ill patients who also suffer from complex psychiatric issues.
- Treat young cancer patients, a third of whom suffer from anxiety and depression.
- Take in young patients who have no appropriate medical facility able to treat their condition.
- Facilitate cooperation between pediatric clinicians, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and social workers.
- Create a family-centered environment and facility where parents can be involved from the beginning and integrated into the process.
- Alleviate the stigma associated with mental illness as children are not treated in a secluded psychiatric hospital.
However, the newly-established unit still has a long way to go, and we aspire to keep expanding its capacity and services. Many children and adolescents are currently in urgent need of comprehensive, compassionate care that addresses their different needs by combining clinical and psychological expertise.
Your Help Can Transform a Child’s Life
The New Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Unit relies on generous people like you to keep improving our services. Your help will allow us to:
- Continue to provide state-of-the-art, nurturing care to our young patients suffering from mental health and developmental disorders.
- Maintain a vast outpatient service, the largest wrap-around service in Israel for eating disorders, and several therapeutic daycare centers that provide care for children with complex psychiatric disorders that are otherwise left with no care options.
- Employ the latest diagnostic methods, including behavioral analysis and genetic research, to ensure better therapy and medication compatibility.
- Conduct further innovative research into the causes and treatment of mental health and developmental disorders.
- Maintain and enhance a compassionate, nurturing treatment environment for children and their families
To ensure we can attend to the special needs of children and adolescents suffering from mental health problems, Sheba is calling on anyone who wishes to make a significant, positive impact on children’s lives to be part of this crucial mission.
To support the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, and learn more about a unique gift naming opportunity, please contact us.