Online Program

Mental Health Care Utilization Among the Most Traditionally Religious Jews and Muslims in Israel in an Era of Reform

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Ephraim Shapiro, PHD, MPA, MBA, Health Sciences, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel
Irit Elroy, MA, Smokler Center for Health Policy Research, Myers -JDC-Brookdale Institute, Jerusalem, Israel
Background: Israel recently implemented mental healthcare system policy reform, with uncertain impact on utilization among subgroups. The most traditionally religious segments of Israeli society, including both Jews and Muslims,  have distinctive attitudes, behaviors and demographics, all of which can impact mental healthcare usage and the reform’s success. Prior research found some underutilization among the most religious Israelis despite universal health insurance ,  for reasons such as stigma,   yet the topic has been understudied.

Research Questions: 1) To what extent do Haredi/ultraorthodox Jews and traditional Arab Muslims in Israel seek and/or receive mental healthcare 2) Do results vary by key subgroups including religion and socioeconomic status?  3)What interventions can potentially be developed to increase use of needed mental health services among religious groups?

Methodology/Results: A random-sample survey of health utilization among all Israelis conducted in 2013 was analyzed. Outcomes included Mental healthcare utilization measures and attitudinal measures related to potential barriers. Religious group was categorized by self-report. Univariate and bivariate analyses were performed using health, religious, and socioeconomic factors. Chi-square statistics were produced. Over 2000 Israelis were surveyed including 275 Haredi/ultraorthodox  Jews and 225 traditional Muslims.  Variations were found by some but not all religious and socioeconomic subgroups. In addition, key informant interviews with religious, community and medical leaders were conducted and faith-based intervention opportunities identified

Conclusions:  Culturally-sensitive interventions can potentially be developed to increase appropriate mental health care utilization for religious Israelis. This issue is particularly timely after mental health reform when opportunities to change relevant attitudes and behaviors exist

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between religiosity and mental health care utilization for the most traditionally religious Israelis. Identify any variations in the relationship between health system utilization based on religious category for Israelis. Discuss the implications of these findings for developing interventions to increase appropriate mental health care utilization targeting different groups of Israelis, based on category of religiosity.

Keyword(s): Religion, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have substantial training and experience in health services research related to religion and health and have presented widely on this topic
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.