Swords of Iron Crisis: Over 9,000, 37% Coping with Psychological Distress

A new report reveals that half of the injured are younger than 30, with most being reservists. How is the state dealing with these troubling figures?

Swords of Iron Crisis: Over 9,000, 37% Coping with Psychological Distress

Photo: IDF website

The Rehabilitation Department in the Israeli Ministry of Defense reports that since October 7th, 9,250 injured individuals have been treated. Half are under 30, with the majority (70%) being reservists. Among them, 3,600 (37%) are coping with psychological difficulties and emotional distress.

In the past nine months, the Rehabilitation Department of the Ministry of Defense has treated 9,250 new injured individuals. This was presented by the Deputy Director and Head of the Rehabilitation Department, Limor Luria, during a discussion in the Knesset on mental resilience and the impacts of combat.

"Israel faces an unprecedented volume of casualties, which challenges adequate therapeutic response,” said Luria. “By effectively treating new casualties today, we can improve their quality of life and that of their families, thereby preventing exacerbation of their condition. It is imperative for all stakeholders to collaborate and develop a comprehensive national plan to accommodate the thousands of casualties who have arrived and will continue to arrive."

According to data from the Rehabilitation Department, over 1,000 new combat casualties are admitted each month. Additionally, around 530 casualties from past wars are also treated. Among Iron Sword casualties, 37% contend with psychological conditions. 35% suffer from limb injuries, 27% have developed psychological or post-traumatic responses, 9% are afflicted with internal injuries, 7% suffer from spinal injuries, and 12% have head, eye, or ear injuries. 51% of the casualties are under 30, while 31% are aged 30-40. The Rehabilitation Department anticipates admitting 14,000 Iron Sword casualties by the end of 2024, with approximately 5,600 of them expected to cope with psychological reactions.

Since October 7th, the Rehabilitation Department has revamped its approach to admitting casualties, ensuring that all Iron Sword casualties are identified within 48 hours and receive comprehensive rehabilitation services without requiring a medical committee. To address those grappling with psychological reactions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, adaptation difficulties, communication challenges, and more, the department has established new and unique services. These include nine rehabilitation centers nationwide, face-to-face initial psychological support teams deployed nationally, training for hundreds of therapists, and additional measures.

The department also launched a PTSD guide app to assist in coping with anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms and conducted training for therapists. Over 20,000 users have downloaded the app so far. In addition to these new services, there are additional assistance and treatment options tailored to the needs of the casualties. These include alternatives to psychiatric hospitalization in community residential homes, vocational rehabilitation centers, diverse therapy groups, service dog training, and more. 


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