ERAN, Israel's only emotional first aid service, provides a confidential 24-hour hotline, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The hotline offers unconditional emotional support to those who are alone, depressed or in crisis.
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. In the past year more than 140,000 calls were taken and many lives were saved by ERAN volunteers “being there” for callers when they needed help most urgently.
Every country and its citizens has its unique character and for some countries the very diversity of its citizens is a key aspect of its uniqueness. There is one thing, however, that every person around the world has in common with each other, regardless of who they are or where they live and that is the basic need to feel accepted and listened to by others.
With an ever vigilant eye on Israel’s social trends and the influence of global affairs on our society, ERAN is constantly meeting the challenge by developing new programs and special help lines that focus on the specific needs of Israel’s wide and varied multiethnic society.
Research indicates that when people are in distress they prefer to speak in their native language.
Seeing 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 a 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
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 Soldier Hotline, for soldiers and their families who prefer complete anonymity
In addition to our telephone hotlines, ERAN offers on-line emotional support via the Internet with e-mail correspondence and real-time chat. Last year approximately 80% of ERAN’s 6,000 Internet users were children and adolescents. These users seek advice regarding problems with their family, school conflicts, social rejection and sexual and mental abuse, among others.
ERAN’s Internet service has grown 60% from last year, a steady increase since its establishment.
The ERAN Information Center provides information to the public on available mental health services, as well educational guidance for schools and professionals in the community, regarding listening skills and mental health counseling.
ERAN also plays a decisive role in influencing public policy regarding mental health legislation, through its meetings with Knesset members. 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 country’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.
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 provides 10 hotline centers in the country: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheva, Netanya, Kfar Saba, Carmiel, Hadera, Rishon Le Zion, and Nazareth. ERAN's services have also developed online with its mission statement: "To provide confidential, unconditional emotional support for all."