In Featured at HBT, Reflections: Rabbi Zachary Goodman

Luke Sklar Mental Health Initiative at Holy Blossom

Jewish people have long been closely connected with the fields of psychology and psychiatry and, in fact, were instrumental in their development. Probably the most famous psychologist in history and the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, was Jewish, as were many of his early associates in the field, including Erich Fromm, Alfred Adler and Bruno Bettelheim. Abraham Maslow, the psychologist famous for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, was born to Russian Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn. Even with our historic connection to the field of mental health, there is still a great amount of stigma that comes with being identified as a person with mental health issues.

Furthermore, the stigma against mental illness is not limited to Jews.  Mental illness is still often perceived as less “real” than physical illness, a sign of weakness or a defect of character. Surveys have shown that employers are reluctant to hire people with histories of psychiatric problems or who are undergoing treatment. Research suggests that a majority of people hold negative attitudes toward the mentally ill and that, for many families, mental illness is a source of shame and embarrassment. That, in turn, leads sufferers to conceal their condition, making it less likely that they will seek treatment. Yet we also know that in any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences mental illness. This can interfere with many aspects of everyday life and have an impact on families, friends and co-workers.[1]

Last spring, a group of Holy Blossom Temple members, Rabbis and professional staff met to establish the Luke Sklar Mental Health Initiative as a tribute to this much-loved member of our community who died by suicide in May of 2018. Its mission is to provide education, support and resources related to the challenges of living with or supporting someone with, a mental illness. We believe that by talking about and supporting mental health, this initiative will work toward ending the stigma around mental illness and encourage others to seek help.

We hope you will join us on Monday, November 11th at 7pm Holy Blossom Temple for the second event in our important speaker series for The Luke Sklar Mental Health Initiative.

Our speaker, Dr. Martin M. Antony, will be discussing the complexities of anxiety. Dr. Antony is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University, clinical lead for the Ontario Structured Psychotherapy Program, and president-elect of the Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies. This is a “cannot miss event” for anyone suffering from, or caring for, someone with an anxiety-related disorder, or if you’re just seeking more understanding.

For More Information about this program: Click Here

To Register: Click Here

We hope that you feel as though Holy Blossom is your spiritual home. We also recognize that we cannot be all things to all people. Please take a look at the Resource Guide (by clicking here) to learn about a number of organizations that specifically address mental health. It is our hope that this important initiative in the memory of Luke Sklar only adds further strength to our promise that Life can blossom here.



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