Jewish Care Victoria to Address Growing Mental Health Concerns »J-Wire


November 29, 2021 by Elana Bedwell

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The protracted COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have had a significant impact on the mental health of our entire community.

The growing presence of mental health issues has prompted the need for a community response. Jewish Care Victoria will lead the response by conducting an independent review that will help create an evidence-based response for the future evolution of services.

Historically, Jewish Care has responded to individuals and families affected by mental health issues through a program known as Coordination of services. This program is a case management, information, navigation and support service run by social workers with higher education degrees. Over 40% of referrals to this team identify mental health as a primary issue.

Jewish Care will undertake an initial response, comprising three key elements:

  1. Reinforce the very important work of our case managers with additional resources to cope with increased demand and complexity.
  2. Provide immediate education and training to schools and youth movements.
  3. Conduct an independent review to assess community needs and Jewish Care’s ability to scale up and / or adapt existing infrastructure to meet data-verified needs. This review will be overseen by a representative reference committee to oversee this initial process.

Immediately, Jewish Care stepped up community capacity building to focus on the mental health needs of young people by developing resources and training targeting youth movements and school leaders. This includes a focused focus on eating disorders and the recognition that schools and youth movements will face immediate challenges in the coming months with children returning to face-to-face learning and camps. .

“We believe this initial response will ensure that Jewish Care Victoria is in a good position to make a thoughtful and responsible decision on the best course to take when it comes to mental health,” said Marilyn Kraner – Mental Health Social Worker and Manager of Mental Health. Individual Services and Family Services at Jewish Care.

The independent review will determine how best to strategically respond and adapt to the changing mental health needs of the community. The review will take into account the findings of the Royal Commission on Mental Health and the subsequent reform agenda, as well as the perspectives of the community through targeted focus groups with affected families and comparison with other similar multicultural services.

A Reference committee to supervise the examination was established, consisting of the following people:

  • Simone Szalmuk-Singer, Co-Vice President, Jewish Care Victoria
  • Dr. John Serry, Psychiatrist, Mental Health Review Board
  • Dori Kabillo, psychologist, director of Nexus Psychology
  • Daniel Jenshel, Former Director of Jewish Care, CCARE Advisory Committees and Co-Founder Men’s Haven
  • Adjunct Professor Alan Lilly, New CEO, Jewish Care Victoria
  • Cindy Joffe, Interim Chief Operating Officer, Jewish Care Victoria
  • Marilyn Kraner, Mental Health Social Worker, Manager of Individual and Family Services, Jewish Care Victoria
  • Cassandra Barrett, Program Manager, Healthy Communities and Youth Mentorship, Jewish Care Victoria

Committee member Daniel Jenshel said, “Our imperative is to ensure that the decisions we make today will serve our community for years to come. “


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