Prioritizing Mental Health in Israel
By Sydney Brown
Wellness treatments of all kinds have boomed in the last few years, as advocating for mental health has become increasingly vital in the face of a global mental health crisis. Israel has been no exception. In the past, addressing issues regarding mental health and wellbeing were incredibly stigmatized, but thankfully in recent years, mental health care has come to the surface and is seen as not only important, but vital to the success of individuals within a variety of spaces. Tech companies based in Israel have begun developing software and technology to alleviate daily stressors in the hopes of creating a more calming environment.
Reflect Innovation, a company based out of Herzliya, uses biofeedback to help users organize a full wellness experience. In the Reflect app, users can build a routine, write from journal prompts, practice meditation, and keep track of their emotions and mood. The company also offers a piece of hardware called The Orb, which looks similar to an apple speaker device and acts as a companion that engages with the user between sessions and guides breathing. The goal of the Orb and Reflect’s software is to enable the user to feel in control of their wellness, which can aid both mental and physical health.
An important part of understanding mental health is remembering that it looks different to everyone, and therefore inclusivity is vital for making successful products. Enosh, an Israeli non-profit dedicated to mental health, works to promote and advocate for the improved mental health of people with disabilities. They offer rehabilitation services, coping strategies, and therapeutic services to increase general mental health awareness. Their mission is to provide community health resources for people with disabilities and to support the mental health and wellness of them and their families. Enosh was founded in 1978 and is the biggest group in Israel advocating for mental health. Like Reflect and other mental health-focused companies, Enosh also provides youth programs to try to get ahead of rising rates of poor mental health in children globally. Some of these youth programs include mental health community advocacy, social and sport activities, and informative employment programming. Enosh also specializes in other sections of declining mental health relating to trauma, homelessness, suicide prevention and LGBTQ+ discrimination. Enosh is a member of both the World Federation for Mental Health and the NGO Committee on Mental Health, and they’re funded by The Israel Ministry of Health, The National Insurance Institute of Health, and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
Kai is an Israeli startup company that has been deeply beneficial for users. The company produces a mental health and wellness coaching app designed to help in both crises or just everyday mental health struggles. The app acts as a companion to users and was frequently used during the peak times of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Wellness tools integrated into the app were based off of the Acceptable Commitment Therapy model, which is a form of therapy that’s based on holistic wellness and the practice of emotional mindfulness. The most effective part of the app, however, is its ability to manage and track somebody’s anxiety and depression levels while helping to monitor waves of emotion and ultimately working to balance out mood swings and feelings. Kai’s app includes journaling and reflection prompts, mood trackers, simple to-do lists, and meditation and breathing exercises.
Mental health is a global problem which has only grown worse in recent years. Wellness initiatives like these assist in mitigating issues, making resources more accessible, and destigmatizing the idea of mental health through practices like journaling, therapy, and holistic consulting. Israel’s status as a start-up nation provides a collaborative environment for emerging mental health technologies. By fostering a culture that breeds innovation, Israeli entrepreneurs are creating modern solutions for age old problems.