Amid war’s mental health crisis, deal reached for more psychologists in public health system

Renee Ghert-Zand is the health reporter and a feature writer for The Times of Israel.

The Finance Ministry, the Health Ministry and the Histadrut labor union announce an agreement on the first stage of a plan to increase the number of psychologists working in the public health system.

The plan is related to efforts to address the skyrocketing mental health needs of Israelis since October 7. Even before the horrific attacks by Hamas on southern Israel and the ensuing war, the public mental health system was not meeting demand.

The new plan involves incentivizing psychologists already working in the public system to remain, and those currently in the private sector to begin working in the public system. The incentives will take the form of special payments to psychologists based on their level of education and professional experience.

For example, a psychologist already working 50% in the public sector (the average for Israeli psychologists) who increases their hours to 75% will be paid an additional NIS 42,000 ($11,500) per year.

“We view this as a temporary measure that we plan to replace with a long-term agreement for all psychologists in the public health system,” says a Histadrut representative involved in reaching the agreement.

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