Expansion of Psychotrauma & Crisis Response Unit

From the Jerusalem Post:

After beginning a new training course last week, 30 additional psychologists and social workers will be joining the unit, which the leadership – headed by director Miriam Ballin, Rickie Rabinowitz, and Avi Steinhartz – is hoping to increase by 500%.

“What once started out as a dream, has now become the cutting edge of emergency psychological response,” said Raphael Poch, United Hatzalah’s international spokesman.

“[On Sunday night] eight volunteer responders – all of whom are trained psychologists or social workers – provided psychological stabilization for the father of the children, as well as both sets of grandparents, concerned and traumatized neighbors, and friends of the family.”

According to Poch, the team remained at the scene for several hours after the emergency medical and fire and rescue teams departed.

“When the social workers of the city of Jerusalem arrived sometime after the event, our team was still on site, and working with those affected by the tragic event,” he said.

Also responding to Sunday’s tragedy was Dr. Gary Quinn, a psychiatrist and the director of the Jerusalem EMDR Institute, who is one of the founders and instructors of the nascent psycho-trauma unit.

Quinn, who specializes in crisis intervention, treatment for anxiety and depressive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder, helped lead the unit during the trying ordeal.

“Upon Dr. Quinn’s arrival, responders, as well as city social workers, deferred to his expertise and proceeded to work together to provide as much relief and stabilization as they could for those who needed it,” said Poch.

The United Hatzalah Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit is the first of its kind in the world.

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