Re­form helps youth with men­tal health

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

RE­FORM JU­DAISM has ap­pointed a wel­fare of­fi­cer who will fo­cus on young peo­ple’s men­tal health is­sues.

As part of the new role, funded en­tirely by a pri­vate donor, Mark Green­field will in­crease train­ing within the move­ment to bet­ter equip shuls and other groups to sup­port their mem­bers.

“Men­tal health is­sues af­fect us all, es­pe­cially in a tightknit com­mu­nity where ev­ery­one knows ev­ery­one else,” Mr Green­field said. “There’s more pres­sure and stigma.

“We have al­ways had wel­fare of­fi­cers but this is the first time men­tal health has been tar­geted. That shows the im­por­tance we place on the is­sue.”

Mr Green­field has joined Re­form from JW3, where he was head of com­mu­nity pro­gram­ming. He was pre­vi­ously a fam­ily sup­port worker in Hack­ney. He wants to work with other re­li­gious move­ments on men­tal health mat­ters. Laura Jan­ner-Klaus­ner, Re­form’s se­nior rabbi, said young Jews needed help to ac­cess sup­port and treat­ment.

“There is a lot of anx­i­ety and pres­sure around ex­ams — and from par­ents to be suc­cess­ful. Body im­age and body sham­ing is also an is­sue and so are ques­tions of sex­u­al­ity and gen­der.”

Mark Green­field

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