Professor Rael Strous, who is a full professor in the department of psychiatry at Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, has recently been appointed as Director of Inpatient Psychiatry at MHMC. He describes his vision for the new mental health unit.
There is increasing awareness in the general community of the pain and suffering of those with mental illness. Furthermore, the increasing body of research and technology regarding treatment options for such conditions is at last beginning to lift the stigma of mental illness and offering hope to those who suffer from it. These developments and increased cognizance of treatment response has not gone unnoticed in various communities where cultural nuances have been particularly sensitive to stigma and secrecy regarding mental illness and its management. Today, there is no reason why those with long standing mental suffering should not receive parity of care with fair and equal treatment such as that received by individuals with physical illness.
Our vision in the department of psychiatry at the Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Centre states that those with mental illness should receive the highest standards of medical care regardless of stigma, economic or ethnic considerations. The standard of infrastructure regarding comfort and space should not in any way be compromised or be minimalized given that mental illness is the focus of treatment. This includes respect for space, religious orthodox observance (e.g. separate facilities for gender, regular prayer and study opportunities on the wards, Sabbath observance respected and protected, rabbinic consultation and input etc).
A multidisciplinary team approach will be exploited including all arms of accepted medical and paramedical staff along with several treatment options unique to mental health including music, exercise, animal, horticultural, art and movement therapies. In addition, treatment in all three arms of the department (outpatient, day hospital, inpatient) will comply with the law and highest ideals of ethical practice – both general medicine and Jewish medical ethical standards. The three inpatient units (male, female, child and adolescent) will offer treatment purely on a voluntary basis with no coercive management exerted at any stage (including the absolute prohibition of any physical restraint options or procedures and constant open room policy).
Patients dignity and autonomy will be respected and maintained always within the context of an intense treatment milieu including one-on-one, family and group therapy treatments. Our mission is to provide the highest quality of psychiatric care with optimal standards of professional conduct and clinical practice for individuals with mental disorders and their families. Evidence-based treatment will be the foundation of such management while integrating mental health care with general medical care on the grounds of a general hospital medical centre. We believe that those with mental illness should not receive anything less than the highest standards similar to that offered to others with general medical illness.
In the last week of November 2019, Professor Rael Strous, the South African-born medical director of Mayanei Hayeshua’s Mental Health Centre, and professor of psychiatry at Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Medicine, was in London for a busy round of meetings and events organised by the British Friends of Mayanei Hayeshua.