ERAN, Israel's only emotional first aid service, provides a confidential 24-hour hotline, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The various sector specific hotlines offer unconditional emotional support to those who are alone, depressed or in crisis.
Our Mission: "To provide confidential, unconditional emotional support for all."
ERAN was founded in Jerusalem in 1971 by Maria-Berta Zasleni, in memory of her late husband, the psychiatrist, Arie Zasleni. The organization was based on the American "call for help" models that were gaining popularity in the 1960's.
Today, Israel's only emotional first aid service operates 10 hotline centers in the country: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheva, Netanya, Kfar Saba, Carmiel, Hadera, Rishon Le Zion, and Nazareth, and an internet service providing emotional first aid via ICQ, internet chat and email. Under developmemt is our new service for mobile phone users that will provide SMS texting access to ERAN.
By being open to everyone and using their listening skills, ERAN volunteers try to help callers explore their own strengths and ways to cope with their emotional ordeals. Professionally trained volunteers address issues of violence, suicide, loneliness, mental illness, distress, anxiety and more. During 2013 more than 162,000 calls were taken and many lives were saved by ERAN volunteers “being there” for callers when they needed help most urgently.
During 2013, ERAN answered calls from 3,500 suicidal callers, on both telephone and internet mediums.
Different Languages: Hebrew, Arabic & Russian
Responding to a great need in the Arab speaking population, ERAN opened an Arabic Hotline in 1996. Although asking for help has become less of a taboo among the Arab population, there are very few resources available for those in need.
In recent years, Israel has become home to over 1 million new immigrants from the former Soviet Union. ERAN provides a Russian Hotline to address the needs of the large Russian speaking community, many of whom have difficulties assimilating into Israeli society.
Special Help Lines: Holocaust Survivors, Elderly, Soldiers, Internet Hotline
During 2013, together with the Ministry of Social Services and Welfare, and in conjunction with the The Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims' Assets, ERAN has set up the Holocaust Survivors Hotline.
Approximately 192,000 Holocaust survivors, most of whom were children during World War II, currently live in Israel. After their terrible experiences in war-torn Europe: persecution, deportation, selection, forced labor, hunger, torture, separation from their families and ultimate loss of families, these survivors tried to build a normal life in Israel, and those who were able, emotionally and physically, worked hard to provide security for their new families. Unfortunately, not all of them succeeded.
Many Holocaust survivors suffer the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sustained feelings of mourning, sleep disorders and anxieties. The effect of the survivors' trauma is often also transferred to the second generation and in total there are approximately 1 million people in Israel today impacted by the Holocaust.
In addition to the traumas of their past, many survivors also face age-related changes, e.g: bereavements reduced economic, social and emotional resources, isolation and physical incapacity. These changes amplify the effects of PTSD in the elderly and lead to an increase in the number of elderly Holocaust survivors seeking emotional and social support.
Many elderly people in Israel from various socio-economic backgrounds are neglected and abused, with no one to turn to for physical or emotional help. ERAN responded by opening a special Hotline for the Elderly, which has a toll-free number making it easier for people to use this service.
When young Israeli men and women become soldiers at age 18, they become part of an institution that is demanding and stressful. Every year, approximately forty IDF soldiers commit suicide. ERAN supplements the military’s mental health services by providing an entirely separate and confidential Hotline for Soldiers, for soldiers and their families who prefer complete anonymity.
In addition to our telephone hotlines, ERAN offers on-line emotional support via the Internet using e-mail correspondence and real-time chat. During 2013 20,000 people in need contacted ERAN through our Internet Hotline. 55% of these were children and adolescents up to the age of 24. These users seek advice regarding problems with their family, school conflicts, social rejection and sexual and mental abuse, among others.
ERAN plays a decisive role in influencing public policy regarding mental health legislation, through its meetings with Knesset members and government Ministers. It serves as an advocate for the public by promoting accessibility to mental health services. All of ERAN’s vital services and activities are offered to the public free of charge.
Partnerships and Coalitions:
From our experience, there is much to be gained when non-profit organizations form partnerships and coalitions to help each other. At ERAN we see how this strategy expands and maximizes the good work for all concerned
As a result of the Israel’s ongoing security problems, there is also a high demand for emotional help by traumatized citizens. ERAN is a founding member of the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), established in 2002, on the initiative of UJA-Federation of New York.