Artists 4 Israel is honored to announce our partnership with United Hatzalah on a pilot program of the ambulance version of the Healing Arts Kits. And, we were there right on time. Within a day of the medics being equipped with these Kits, they found its first use.
Read below for the details:
HERTZLIYA, ISRAEL - Yesterday during a frightening structure fire in the city of Hertzliya an entire building was evacuated. A two year-old boy was shaking and crying when the helmet-clad firemen arrived to rush him out his house. Outside the noise and mayhem only increased his anxiety. But, volunteer medics from United Hatzalah on scene to provide medical assistance were able to help treat the psychological needs of the sobbing child with a new tool just added to their equipment.
The medic handed the child a ‘Healing Arts Kit’ and within moments the little boy was happily playing with familiar objects like crayons and small toys similar to the ones lost in his smoke-blackened apartment. But these were no ordinary toys. The Healing Arts Kit were developed by leading experts in the mental health field in collaboration with the non-profit group Artists 4 Israel. Top psychologists and trauma specialists from both Israel and the United States worked together to create a ‘first aid kit for young minds’ that will immediately combat the effects of trauma and eliminate the chances of PTSD by up to eighty percent through self-directed, creative play therapies.
The Dror division of United Hatzalah was trained using the Healing Arts Kit earlier in the week as part of a pilot launch. When the volunteer medic saw the distressed little boy he was able to reach into his rescue bag for one of the kits. Soon the child had the Healing Arts Kit open and was calmly playing, entering a familiar comfort zone he so desperately craved. His mother looked on with tears of appreciation in her eyes as she saw her son go from terrified to calm despite sirens blaring all around them.
Niv Granot, Director of the United Hatzalah Dror Division commented, “We frequently come to emergency calls involving children or their loved ones and we must improvise methods to distract the children. Having such a well thought out and purpose-built kit enabled the United Hatzalah volunteer to focus on the medical emergency knowing that the psychological emergency had been dealt with.”
The Healing Arts Kit pilot program being launched in Hertzliya, Elad and in the Carmel Region came just in time to help during the building fire. The goal of the project is to provide emergency medical first responders with the tools to address the emotional wellbeing of children exposed to traumatic incidents. Research has shown that the psychological impact of a stressful event can be exacerbated or dramatically mitigated during the initial minutes of exposure. Those are the minutes that the rapid responders of United Hatzalah are often the only form of assistance on scene.
The Healing Arts Kits were first distributed to children near the Israel-Gaza border who were spending long days and nights in bomb shelters under near constant missile attack during last summer’s Gaza War. The response to and results of this initiative were overwhelmingly positive and attracted the attention of United Hatzalah.
“We are always happy to collaborate with international leaders in technology and medical devices to advances emergency medicine,” says Dov Maisel, Director of International Operations for United Hatzalah. “Working with Artist 4 Israel has been an exciting outgrowth of that vision.”
“When we first created the Healing Arts Kits – the only tool designed to prevent ongoing psychological damage due to trauma in Israel’s youth – we knew we needed the right partner,” says Craig Dershowitz, President of Artists 4 Israel. “United Hatzalah is the perfect match. We share the same passion for protecting the physical and emotional health of children; the same vision to explore new and cutting-edge programs; and the same commitment to be the first on the scene of a crisis, giving life-saving and life-affirming aid.”
Israel has unfortunately had to grapple with civilian PTSD due to repeated experiences of war and terrorism. But from that expertise comes a kit so beneficial that a little boy who suffers the tragedy of losing his home is eighty percent less likely to be psychologically scarred by the event. And now United Hatzalah, world leader in immediate emergency medical response, is equipped to treat psychological trauma as quickly as they treat physical trauma.