In addition to our telephone hotlines, ERAN now offers on-line emotional support via the Internet with e-mail correspondence and real-time chat. Last year approximately 52% of ERAN’s 16,000 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.
Adolescence is a particularly difficult time in one’s emotional development and those who have trouble expressing their feelings verbally, can often communicate their emotional needs better via the Internet. Even though communication via the telephone and the Internet hotline are both conducted anonymously, most youngsters prefer using the Internet as the "distance" creates a stronger feeling of anonymity, allowing them to be more open about their problems and feelings.
ERAN’s Internet service has grown over 200% from last year, a steady increase since its establishment. The Internet hotline fulfills a deep need for youth in Israel, many of whom do not have alternative access to free and confidential emotional help.
Many youth in Israel are also significantly affected by stress passed down from their parents due to socio-economic hardship, as well as the hazardous security situation. With little or even no support from their parents, teachers and peers they experience feelings of helplessness and despair, which often leads to depression and even suicidal thoughts.
In Israel, there are 3,400 suicide attempts every year, 70 succeed and 20% of those who succeed are youth. This past year, in collaboration with Magen David Adom and the Israeli Police Force, ERAN has saved the lives of three teenagers.
ERAN’s Internet volunteers are not only professionally trained to address issues of violence, suicide, loneliness, mental illness, distress and anxiety, etc. but also how best to use the written word as a tool in providing emotional help. As the written word can often be stronger than the spoken word, ERAN’s volunteers are trained and supervised to recognize and make use of the nuances of written communication.
ERAN’s chat service is available from 6 pm-midnight and has 50 volunteers that are available to respond. Many children in Israel have access to the Internet, at home or through youth centers, making the Internet an accessible and effective channel to address their needs.
Research shows that services like ERAN "(1) are preferred by youth over mental health centers, especially if they are known to cater to youth; (2) provide a service for individuals troubled by suicidal ideation; (3) succeed in attracting populations they are designed to help; (4) are associated with decreases in suicide rates among white females under 25, the most frequent users of hotline services; and (5) reach otherwise underserved populations in the community." (Centers for Disease Control. Youth Suicide Prevention Program: A Resource Guide. 1992. Atlanta.)
YOU CAN HELP ERAN to maintain this vital service, and to fund volunteer recruitment, training, and outreach costs, by donating now on the following link https://www.sslint.co.il/Eran/Donation.asp?LanguagePack=1.