Abstract of S. Diab lecture


S. Diab
JDC Israel

"Mental illness" and "mental health disability" are considered taboo in
public discourse in the Arab society in Israel. This stems from lack of
knowledge, lack of information and lack of clarity regarding this type of
disability. The rate of people with mental health disability in Arab
society who exercise their right to a NII disability allowance (out of the
total adult disabled) is very low (8%) compared to the Jewish society
(65%). Given the need to develop culturally competent responses for
this population, and following the success of the "Masira Program for
the Advancement of the Status of People with Disabilities in the Arab
Society in Israel" among people with physical and sensory disabilities,
it was decided to expand the Masira Program to develop services for
people with mental health disability in the south Triangle region, which
is poor in services. A report prepared by Masira addresses the attitude
of the Muslim Arab society toward the mentally ill, and describes
difficulties that people with mental health disabilities and their family
members face – socially and in accessing services. Apprehension of
mental health services is due to: stigmas; lack of knowledge and
information; linguistic and cultural barriers; geographic distances; and
difficulty in getting to the few services that exist. The presentation will
include findings from the report and feedback from preliminary
activities in the field, for example training workshops adapted to the
Arab society, for Imams and social workers.

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