Research shows that people prefer to speak in their native language when seeking emotional help.
For this reason, ERAN operates a special Russian hotline specifically addressing the needs of Israel's Russian speaking population. The hotline is staffed by professionally trained volunteers, who understand the unique difficulties of this sector, as well as issues regarding violence, suicide, loneliness, mental illness, distress and anxiety.
During the early 1990s Israel experienced a massive wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union and today Israel has become home to over a million Russian speaking immigrants, including many single parent families, elderly and infirm. The Russian community has had difficulties assimilating into Israeli society in many respects and the emotional and psychological difficulties continue to manifest themselves today.
A third of the immigrants who arrived in the 1990s were highly educated, however, only 50% succeeded in finding jobs in their profession and the rest either found other, often menial, jobs or became unemployed. These immigrants also experienced hostility from Russian immigrants that immigrated in the early 1980s because they felt threatened that the newcomers would take their jobs. The Russian community in Israel continues to face many challenges including unemployment, language differences, coping with single parent households and mixed marriages, amongst others.
As a result of the hardships that challenge this group, many Russian immigrants remain isolated in their community and have difficulties assimilating into Israeli society. Many of the issues addressed by callers are related to self-esteem and finding ways to adjust to a new place.
Special efforts are being made to recruit more Russian speaking volunteers so that the hours of the Russian hotline can be extended to 24 hours a day. The Russian hotline also provides an opportunity for immigrant volunteers to work side by side with Israelis and be part of Israeli volunteerism.
YOU CAN HELP ERAN to maintain this vital service, by providing funding for volunteer recruitment and training, as well as to publicize this service more broadly within the Russian community.