"Peace of Mind" for discharged soldiers
now I know that my life changed twice in the past sixteen months, once it
changed during the war and I didn’t realize it, because I thought it was normal
to be constantly tense. The second time my life changed was during the Peace of
Mind program where I gained a perspective of how to continue with the rest of
A paramedic in the rescue unit of the Israeli Air Force after he participated in one of the first workshops in October 2007.
Peace of Mind is a unique program developed by the Israel Centre for the Treatment of Psycho-Trauma. It paves the way back to civilian life for young men and women who have served three or more years in high-risk combat units in the Israel Defense Forces. The program identifies units who have undergone severe combat experiences and provides the treatment needed to strengthen their emotional health and resilience allowing them to start their civilian life as healthy and productive citizens. Different groups of discharged veterans are brought to Toronto, Canada several times a year with their therapists, are housed with members of our community, and are immersed in both therapy and community events during their stay. It truly becomes a meaningful week as they become aware of the caring, strength and unity of the Toronto Jewish community. It is an honour to give back to those men and women who have given so much of themselves not only to their country, but also to all the Jews in the Diaspora.
Every year, thousands of young Israeli combat soldiers are discharged from military service and are returned to civilian life. Despite their lengthy and arduous physical training, scant attention is paid to their psychological preparedness to cope with the aftermath of their traumatic experiences. Many witnessed terrible sights, made split-second, life and death decisions, or experienced the loss of a comrade and the ensuing grief and bereavement that followed.
Most combat soldiers display remarkable emotional resilience in the face of traumatic situations. However, when discharged from the army, after three years or more spent in a strict military framework, many feel overwhelmed by the decisions and demands of civilian life. They may develop symptoms ranging from difficulties with concentration, or sleep and memory disorders. Other manifestations include substance abuse, anger management, and symptoms that can lead to full-blown Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The Solution: 'Peace of Mind' for Combat Soldiers
The ‘Peace of Mind' intervention by ICTP strengthens the emotional resilience of recently discharged combat soldiers. It also identifies those who may be grappling with severe psycho trauma and ensures that they receive the treatment they need and deserve. 'Peace of Mind' enables Israeli combat soldiers who have contributed at least three of their most formative life years serving their country to embark upon productive civilian lives.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is working with ICTP, identifying combat units that are completing their terms of duty and could benefit the most from the 'Peace of Mind' program. Our model is to bring together soldiers who have been serving together in the same unit or team, so that an esprit d' corps and a level of trust already exists, thereby facilitating the serious work they need to accomplish in a relatively short period of time.