Leveraging decades of experience in the effective treatment of anxiety and depression, OHEL has embraced a powerful message in Sign of Strength, a new program addressing the rising rates of anxiety related issues in children and adults.

Anxiety amongst children and adults has reached endemic proportions, particularly “because we live an ever more complicated, demanding and transformative world.” Said OHEL therapist Dr. Chana Renov.

The statistics bare out this stark reality. “Of the thousands of individuals OHEL serves every day, over 650 are challenged by some form of anxiety,” said David Mandel, OHEL CEO.

For many in the community, this is compounded by ever-increasing financial stresses, marital strains, parenting challenges in a social media age, caregiving of a loved one and/or a traumatic life event such as divorce, the loss of a loved one, to a sudden or significant medical diagnosis.

Sign of Strength is an integrated campaign, including a new website of comprehensive resources, help and advice, a print and social media campaign. It raises awareness of the many forms of anxiety and the readily available professional treatment to effectively manage anxiety in children and adults.

Imagine this scenario: I have an infection but find myself reluctant to see a doctor because I feel many in the community will stigmatize me in going for such help. Why? Because many in the community have an attitude of “We all have an immune system. Surely that should suffice? So is x/y is going to see a doctor or therapist, it must mean something is seriously wrong with them.”

This is how mental health is still very much understood and stigmatized in the community, and it is this detrimental attitude that OHEL seeks to change.

The initial launch of the campaign has included the video Sign of Strength, which details the inspiring stories of one child and one adult, who share their transformative life experiences in proactively confronting and effectively managing their anxiety.

As OHEL’s Director of Communications Derek Saker elaborates, “The message we seek to convey is that talking about emotions and mental health, should no longer be seen as a sign of weakness, but a Sign of Strength.”

OHEL has launched a new song “Let It Go” composed by OHEL and Lipa Schmeltzer – which debuted at the OHEL Gala and is available for free download at SignofStrength.org. The accompanying music video will shortly be released.

OHEL is also spearheading a campaign that specifically addresses the increasing anxiety in schools, and will be working with educators and parents to raise greater awareness of early detection and treatment, and help develop better coping and resilience skills – so that everyday children challenged by anxiety today or perhaps tomorrow – can thrive.

An educational video has also been developed which includes interviews with a cross-spectrum of educators and psychologists including Dr. Rayzel Yaish, Clinical Psychologist and Guidance Director at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls.

OHEL believes that an environment where we are more at home in sharing emotions, more open in discussing and confronting everyday mental health issues, can only yield a community that is much healthier and much stronger for tomorrow – whatever the challenges we may face.

OHEL’s regional centers from The New OHEL Jaffa Family Campus in Flatbush, to The Kleinman Family OHEL Regional Family Center in Far Rockaway, all offer specialized care and treatment and can be accessed through 1800-603-OHEL, www.signofstrength.org and through access@ohelfamily.org



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