Innovative digital tool for assessing the level of stress and anxiety in the population after the events of October 7th

A digital and professional questionnaire drafted by the professionals of the Ministry of Labor and Social Services will aid in the self-diagnosis of distress, stress, and anxiety. At the end of the questionnaire, the participants will receive recommendations for therapy and assistance.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the Joint Organization, and the Hilma Association joined up in a collaborative initiative to develop a first-of-a-kind digital questionnaire to aid in self-diagnosis and preliminary evaluation of situations of stress and anxiety. The questionnaire was drafted and validated by professionals from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and the Ministry of Health.

In light of the increase in cases of citizens suffering from emotional and mental distress, the ministry initiated a unique digital tool that is accessible and simple to use, which gives a preliminary evaluation of cases of stress and anxiety and their intensity and refers to the appropriate solutions accordingly. The tool is intended to assist in identifying distress as early as possible.

The talked-about questionnaire is digital and professional, official by the state, and the fruit of the collaboration of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the Ministry of Health, the Hilma Association, the Joint, and the National Digital Agency. The questionnaire was drafted by professionals in the field of social and health services, and it is based on previous professional questionnaires. The questions have been adapted after the events of October 7th so that they specifically and uniquely, among other things, deal with the various events that happened since that Saturday.

It is important to mention that the questionnaire was not intended only for those who experienced direct trauma, but it was developed and drafted so that it would fit the general population. The concept of materializing this unique tool arose after good experience from developing similar online tools in the past, especially during the Corona era, in part of cross-sector and interministral collaborations over identifying risk situations and inter-couple violence, a tool to assess suicidal risk, a signaling tool to identify risk situations among children, and it was found that these tools are widely used and aid many people.

The questionnaire can be filled out by any person over the age of 16, entirely anonymously, and does not require handing out identifying details. The questions in the questionnaire deal with the amount of exposure of the person to difficult events or traumatic experiences—in direct contact with the war that broke out on October 7th or because of a traumatic event from the past that might be overflowing the person these days. It is a well-known and recognized phenomenon that traumatic events in the present sometimes bring up memories of traumatic events from the past.

After filling up all the questions, a preliminary assessment of the presence of post-traumatic and mental distress symptoms (depression and/or anxiety) will take place, along with a statement of the level of dysfunction in everyday life. After receiving the result of the assessment, the filler of the questionnaire will get different professional recommendations with respect to their condition.

It is emphasized that the questionnaire is no substitute for the professional assessment of an expert and is only meant to give a preliminary assessment and aid those who fill out the questionnaire in referring to professional means according to their needs.

Mali Orgad, head of trauma crysis services in the Ministry of Labor and Social Security: “Many citizens who were not hurt directly may think that this thing does not concern them, but in fact, they deal with levels of stress and anxiety in one way or another that affect their daily function, and it is of high importance that they fill out the questionnaire for their own benefit, so they could identify and get a preliminary assessment of their situation. The traumatic events that took place on October 7th affected us all, not only in the inner circles of direct casualties but also in the outer circles, and in fact, the entire population. Through professional interministral collaboration, we developed a first-of-a-kind online tool that assists in identifying and treating it in an anonymous, simple, and accessible way. We invite everyone to use the digital tool and get the responses that suit them.”

Ori Gil, CEO of Joint-Elka: “The continuous emergency in which Israel is in requires all of us to give quick, efficient, and helpful solutions to the many social issues that surface. In the face of the acute stress situation in which many Israelis are, the connection between a digital solution and cross-sectional partnership created a unique tool offering the citizen a better, personally adapted, and friendly service. I am full of hope that this development will assist in reducing cases of anxiety and danger and will improve the lives of as many people as possible.”

Link to the digital questionnaire: https://howru.co.il/ 

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