Large numbers of psychologists work privately rather than in public health organizations after their graduation and qualification, because they earn much more. The Finance and Health ministries, and the Histadrut labor federation, which are well aware of this problem, have finally decided to do something about it.
The huge numbers of traumatized Israelis who were wounded, lost loved ones, homes, and businesses on October 7 need emotional support and therapy, as do many in the general public who were not directly affected.
The three bodies have reached agreements regarding the outline of grants for psychologists in the public health system. They said the plan was drawn up against the background of the growing need and going to expand the services to the public in the current period as part of the national plan for mental health. They promised that tens of millions of shekels will be allocated to induce private psychologists to also work in public institutions.
They said the aim is to provide an immediate response to the current challenges in the system with a dedicated collective agreement for all psychologists who are already in the public sector.
The grants will be given to psychologists who commit themselves to remain in the public system, as well as another grant to encourage psychologists to expand the scope of their work in the public sector. Also, a recruitment grant was agreed upon for psychologists who will be absorbed into the public health system for the first time during the time that it is in effect.
The grants will be in different amounts depending on the level of training and scope of the psychologist’s position. Tens of millions of shekels were allocated for the implementation of the plan. As a result, the grants can amount to tens of thousands of shekels per year for each psychologist who will significantly expand the scope of treatment hours.
They said the grant outline is the result of hard work on the part of the government ministries and the Histadrut out of their awareness of the importance of public therapy and improving the service, especially now.
For example, a psychologist who works in the public system for 50% of a position (similar to 80 % of psychologists in the public service) and increases the scope of his work to 75% of a manpower slot, will receive an average grant of approximately NIS 42,000, increasing his total income by tens of percent.
Beginning the healing process
Health Minister Uriel Bosso said that “Israel is facing the biggest mental-health event in its history, and we are committed to providing a broad and effective therapeutic response to deal with the crisis we are facing. It is no secret that the issue of mental health was in a big deficit even before the events of October 7, and now the service must be drastically upgraded. Upgrading the system of public therapists is one of the cornerstones of the national mental health plan that we formulated for after the war and the outline we reached is an important step along the way.”
Histadrut chairman Arnon Bar-David added that “the healing process of Israeli society begins with our ability to hug the victims and to guarantee them an effective and long-term therapeutic response. The national confrontation with the traumas of the war only emphasizes the urgent need to continue investing in the public psychology system in Israel.
“The grant outline we obtained for psychologists in the health system is an important first step, but the task does not end there. We will continue to act with determination and in cooperation with all the parties so as to strengthen the public system and ensure its ability to provide quality psychological service, available and accessible to all citizens of the country who need it.”