Mental Health Issues among Gap Year Students in Israel

Dr. Shmuel Harris

Dr. Shmuel Harris M.D. gave a presentation at the 22nd Annual Nefesh Conference in New York on Thursday December 27, 2018, about Machon Dvir’s research into Mental Health Issues among Gap Year Students in Israel.

Nefesh – the International Network of Orthodox Mental Health Professionals – convenes every December to provide continuing professional development sessions for Orthodox Jewish mental health professionals from all over the world.

Dr. Harris presented the results of a pilot research project carried out by his clinical research team at Machon Dvir among Seminary girls from overseas studying in Jerusalem. This project involved an anonymous questionnaire that was completed by over 100 Seminary girls from across the religious spectrum. They were asked about their experiences with depression, anxiety, academic distress, eating concerns, family concerns, feelings of hostility, and substance use, during their time in Israel.

The research results were presented to Nefesh mental health professionals in December and they will be presented to therapists in Israel and the directors of Seminaries and Yeshivot in March 2019. Machon Dvir plans to repeat the survey with this year’s Seminary cohort, to see how the results change over time, and also to extend the study to include Yeshiva students.

Dr. Shmuel Harris explains the purpose of the research project, which is being partly funded by the Israeli Absorption Ministry. “Our goal is to provide the Jewish community with much-needed information about the concerns and needs of gap year students who are studying in Israel. This will enable healthcare providers to better identify and treat mental health issues, so that students can receive professional help before they leave home, during their year in Israel, and after their return home.”

Any Jewish publication that is interested in publishing the results of the research study and arranging an interview with Dr. Shmuel Harris should contact Sarah Manning (sarah(at)

December 17, 2018 Sarah News No Comments