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Expanding the capabilities and geographic scope of Sheba’s National Chava Center for Maternal Mental Health
The transition into motherhood can be a lonely and difficult time for many mothers. It is our duty to answer the urgent need for skilled professional intervention as well as compassion, support, and understanding of these women and of our next generation of babies.
The Chava Center is Israel’s leading center for women’s mental health in the perinatal period (during pregnancy and after birth) and the only one in the world in terms of scope and continuity of care.
Perinatal mental disorders take a heavy toll on the mother, baby, family and community, negatively affecting the newborn’s development, leading to increased illness of the newborn, harming the couple’s relationship, including an increase in the divorce rate, depression in the spouse, absence from the workplace, and more. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we witnessed a 40% increase in mental health disorders among perinatal women in Israel.
The war in Israel is expected to increase rates of perinatal distress and mental health disorders even more, as well as the psychiatric hospitalizations after birth, especially in areas exposed to the most severe attacks, including murder, rape, severe injuries and evacuation.
Psychiatric hospitalization of postpartum women in Israel currently means separation of mother from the newborn. There is a pressing need for mother-infant hospitalization units that enable treatment of the mother’s condition in parallel with treatment of the mother-baby relationship, to improve the prognosis for the mother, the newborn, the family and the community.
Therefore, the National Chava Center for Maternal Mental Health is expanding to meet the exponential growth in mental health treatment needed among mothers and families with two new centers for maternal mental health to be established in the next two years:
In anticipation of the surge in demand following October 7th and the outbreak of war, Sheba wishes to establish a new Chava center in the southern city of Ashkelon, a city deeply impacted by the attacks. This will be in cooperation with the Barzilai Medical Center.
The new center will offer ambulatory services for pregnant and postpartum women and mother-baby day unit for postpartum women residing in the southern periphery, an area already facing a high prevalence of mental health challenges without designated services.
Similar to the South Chava center, Sheba wishes to establish a duplicate in the North, where residents had to evacuate due to intense fire being exchanged between Israel and Lebanon.
Please join us in our vital mission of treating our new mothers and alleviating their suffering.