If we all believe mental health is so important, why are so few people willing to do more than just talk about it?
We have all learned the hard way that we as frum Jews are not immune from the problems that the rest of the world is dealing with. Of course, halacha and Chassidus provide powerful guidance for each of us. But there still can be mental and emotional problems that need care and attention. We have the same mental health needs and struggles as anyone else. This is all the more true for our children and teens, who are still trying to understand who they are and what they need, not just to function, but to thrive.
It’s true that slowly, we are getting better about being open to these conversations. But that’s simply not enough! Conversations, at the end of the day, can’t accomplish much more than moving topics into the mainstream. While that’s important, it doesn’t change the reality so many children and teens are still living in.
If teachers, rabbeim, and administrators don’t know how to support mental health needs and struggles, it doesn’t matter if they support them in theory. At the end of the day, the most important thing is action. This is where so many people and schools, even the most well-intentioned, fail. They know what the problems are, but not how to solve them.
We’ve all seen firsthand the way that students and children struggle when they don’t receive the support they need, whether because the adults around them don’t understand the problem or because they don’t know what to do about it.
Our children spend so much time at school and so, as parents, we have to accept that the school is partnering with us in raising our kids. It’s not only about what’s happening at home or at school, it’s about both. We have to work together to care for the future. And in order to do that, we have to invest in real chinuch, the kind that stretches far beyond information learned in class. True chinuch is the education of the neshama.
That’s why what Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh is doing is so revolutionary; instead of just acknowledging the problem, they are tackling it at its root. Their wellness division cares for all the students enrolled in a way that no other Jewish day school is currently doing. The fact that children with great need receive free one-on-one therapy is a resource that doesn’t exist anywhere else.
This should be what all of our schools look like. How can students connect with Hashem, with the Rebbe, with their studies and their friends, if they are blocked by learning struggles, mental health problems, and emotional needs that aren’t being cared for? They can’t! Ensuring that our childrens’ mental health is cared for is not what’s done instead of learning. It’s what needs to happen for any learning to take place at all!
Schools, parents, and teachers should be looking to Yeshiva Schools for a sense of what is needed to properly care for our precious children and students in this day and age.
So enough with just talking about the struggles our children are facing. At the end of the day, ha’maiseh hu ha’ikar. So go to whollychinuch.org and watch the livestream at 7 tonight, where we’ll be having the kind of discussion that leads to action. It will remind that you’re not alone in whatever parenting or chinuch struggles you may be having. And give whatever you can to this crucial campaign, even 5 or 10 dollars. These are the strongest ways to take action, to say, “Enough with the hand-wringing, it’s time to do something to help all our children!”
A Grateful Mother
Humanity has worked like this: till no one complains “all appear ” fine. People in their 30s are starting to open up more because its exploding. They will not do before out of fear of reputation. Most are willing to suffer in silence then to confront their source of where their mental health is coming from. After that the rest who are in their 50s + are living this way. It’s a lifestyle that they chose and are imposing it on the next generation. Yes imposing. So why help mental health when it’s being manipulated by our elders to believe… Read more »
I am so thankful to my husband for going to therapy/coaching with me to get help when needed. Our children have seen our commitment, and hopefully we’ve set an example! You really cannot hide things in your home…. & perhaps not even in our small community of Crown Heights. I admire the courage it takes to step up, & work on relationships with our spouses, our kids, etc. It is such a bracha. Cuz we KNOW, every family’s “got stuff”!
After seminary I went to a very well-known life coach for that I was following on Instagram, only for her to guide me in the wrong direction. I saw her for 3 months, I then went to a licensed therapist and BH I’m receiving the help I need. I learned that most times, Life coaches are people that have charisma that could have gone through a 6-week training course and are giving advice to people that is unsupported. (she also charged me more than the LMFT that I’m seeing now)
I had the same situation.
Network to find the right person who speaks to you. If something doesn’t seem right, trust your gut, & move on. It is such a great feeling to find the support we need. I don’t think we’re meant “to do our lives alone”.
I worked with a highly recommended LCSW, who was a disaster and caused terrible damage, reading inappropriate messages where they didn’t belong.
I strongly support the idea of therapy but have encountered too many half baked, incompetent practitioners.
Now, that’s very sad!
you may have a doctor who you don’t like but they still have the necessary training.
sometimes the therapist may not be a good one to you , or it’s just not a good fit in personalities, in addition it could be that the client is not willing to change or hear anything negative about themselves, but it’s extremely important to go to someone with training in mental health not just somebody who can share good advice.
Many schools provide one on one therapy for free.
for adults who suffer from these issues. It absolutely helps the children when a parent’s issues are taken care of. In general, if an adult can’t be nurturing bec, of their own issues, how can the children in their care thrive?
Kudos to Yeshivas of Pittsburgh for their work.
It’s not fair to assume that other schools are not doing the best they can. Many, many schools are working to meet the needs of their student body’s growing mental health concerns—perhaps it would be wise for YOP to share their wealth of resources, and their success to help other schools develop similar branches.
The image is a computer. Schools need to start having staff not on their devices all day. How can our kids be healthy when their bus driver , bus monitor , teacher , coach , principal , program director and yes THERAPIST is on their phone and not fully present.
The problems come FROM the computer (and anything else with a screen).
Hmmmm. … because there were no problems before the computer
Let’s first get rid of the word “Mental” and change to “Emotional” Health.
They have a first a mental disorder and then emotional instability.
An emotional issue might be something like difficulty handling a bully. A mental health issue might be schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, OCD, addiction, etc.
While I like keeping language as positive as possible, let’s not whitewash things either.
Have you ever heard of the “Neshamos” Organization? They work so hard for our children, teens and adults and have, and continue to help, anyone in our community or for that matter from outside too, regarding all types of ‘healthy mind’ issues and more. If you haven’t heard of them check it out http://www.neshamos.org.
The real problem is that the Rebbeim and educators in this community have absolutely no professional training and more often than not, don’t belong in a classroom. There are too many people that struggle with mental health for years because of the yeshivas in this community.
I understand that it’s unrealistic and frankly against the beliefs of Lubavitch to have college educated teachers in our schools, but at the very least have them trained to an acceptable standard before they ever enter a classroom.
I know many people with a degree in Education, it doesn’t mean they know how to educate. Our Rabbeim taught clear guidelines how to be great teachers and leaders we need to have real courses on that!
I was paying $200/ 45 minutes. It became unaffordable without an extra job
Did the rebbe mention it in a sicha?
I come from a house of traditional therapists and I frankly don’t believe in them for the most part. Some of the best people that can guide u are not the trained therapists. The best/wisest/healthiest moms often just reserve all their time and energy for their own families only and don’t get a degree to help others. Try to seek their advice if u can. They are often brilliant, intuitive and can help u more than just another trained therapist. Many therapists go into their fields bec they have a lot of their own baggage they struggled with and often… Read more »
your house of traditional therapist might be lacking in expertise perhaps. Coloring all therapists and the entire professional mental health field as not to be believed? All moms and dads and uncredentialled foks are good sources of fundamental advice and support? How about that there’s wisdom in many places and shoddy advice in many places. Many but not all doctors of most fields are competent. Many but not all parents are good sources of support. ETC.
How is it, that our generation, children, grand-children and great-grandchildren of the greatest generation is falling apart at the seams? We, the most blessed, the most secure are facing an epidemic of spiritual and mental weakness. The coddling makes us weaker and weaker and weaker. A chick has to struggle to break through the shell of egg, a butterfly out of its cocoon; help them avoid this struggle and you kill it. We are clipping our children’s wings and we are bearing the results. Time to teach resilience, inner strength and moral courage. Otherwise, I feel that the downward spiral… Read more »
One can say that teaching resilience, inner strength and moral courage is key; however, it’s HOW those elements are taught/conveyed. Sometimes unhealthy teachers or unaware parents think they are appropriately teaching those qualities you mentioned. Because of that, children may receive messages through the teacher’s unhealthy filter. I don’t have the answer, but I do think it’s important to have an educated group of leaders representing and addressing this aspect of community concerns.