The Conceptual Model and Guiding Principles of a Supported-Education Program for Orthodox Jewish Persons with Severe Mental Illness
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An innovative culturally-oriented supported-education program has been established in Israel to address the needs of religious Jewish persons with severe mental illness. This program is utilizing a highly regarded institution in the Orthodox communities, a Beit Midrash, a study hall for religious studies, as a context for rehabilitation. Based on open-ended interviews conducted with the staff members of this program, its conceptual framework and guiding principles have been identified and analyzed. In this program common principles of psychiatric rehabilitation have been adapted and incorporated into a context which has not been known so far as a context for psychiatric rehabilitation. In addition, innovative supported-education methods of work which are compatible with the cultural context of Orthodox Jewish persons have been implemented, such as opportunities provided to the participants to reconstruct their views of their daily struggles and enhance their sense of spirituality via the discussion of socially-oriented religious texts. The culturally-oriented context of the Beit Midrash enables outreach to a population which might otherwise not receive any services. This is a promising model for addressing the unique needs of religious persons with severe mental illness and for filling a gap in the resources available for the rehabilitation of this population in the community.
KeywordsSupported-education Mental illness Psychiatric rehabilitation Religion Orthodox Jews
The authors wishes to thank Charlene Drobny for her valuable contribution to this manuscript.
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