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News : ERAN’s National Crisis Phone in Need of Help
Feb 18, 2014 -- Hundreds of thousands of troubled people contact ERAN each year, but due to the shortage of funds, over NIS 100,000 were not answered.
ERAN, the National Crisis Intervention Hotline that provides emotional first aid by telephone and Internet, is in danger of being shut down, according to evidence heard Tuesday in the Knesset Labor, Social Welfare and Health Committee. Some money is owed by government ministries to the voluntary organization.
Bar said that the confidential service supplied mostly by trained volunteers saves the social welfare authorities huge burdens, as many callers are helped enough so as not to need additional counseling. Many of those who call for help threaten to commit suicide, and having someone listen to their problems often dissuades them.
Former MK Haim Oron, who is chairman of the ERAN Friends Organization, said that the organization finished 2013 only because a woman willed her apartment to it and ERAN sold it when she died. "There is no way to keep the organization going. Eighty percent of the calls at night are not answered. The country can’t manage without this service, and our budget is minuscule," Oron said.
Health Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu said that some of the funds of the National Council for Preventing Suicides will be diverted to support for organizations that give help by telephone to people with emotional distress. Gamzu promised that the ministry’s supports committee will discuss this soon, apparently within a month. "We are bound to help all the organizations in this category, and not only ERAN," the director-general said. "There is no long-term procedure to ensure funding and budgets are not stable."
Oron commented: "So the government says it doesn’t have the ability to cope with an organization like ERAN. All the ministers in all the governments hugged us, but we can’t make ends meet."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, February 21, 2014