The Aguda he Association for LGBTQ Equality Annual Report 2023

In my role as Vice President for Individual Services, navigating the challenges during the Israel-Hamas war has been extensive and impactful. It's heartening to see our community unite during such trying times. Within the Therapy and Counseling Department and the hotline, our focus has been on enhancing the sense of belonging, fostering support networks, and strengthening communal

sessions every two weeks, complemented by private conversations. Over 90% of hotline volunteers have engaged in these conversations. We remained responsive to emerging needs and reached new audiences in the Treatment Department. We organized Zoom sessions to discuss and learn mindfulness tools for self-soothing. Through collaboration with community organizations, we established a national treatment platform offering free first aid to anxiety and trauma victims. Treatment referrals have surged by approximately 150% since the war outbreak. Despite these efforts, the demand remains high, leading us to continue our work toward facilitating long term subsidized treatments and recruiting a dedicated clinical nurse. As time progressed, we recognized unique challenges within the LGBTQ community, including issues arising from the war, such as the absence of recognition for same-sex families in cases of abductions or casualties, which led us to enlist an attorney dedicated to assisting the LGBTQ community. Simultaneously, we acknowledged the challenges faced by family clinics nationwide, supporting couples amidst the war's uncertainties. While acknowledging the long road ahead, we understand that the war's effects will persist. The LGBTQ community will face complex and distinctive challenges. To address this, we are gearing up to provide communal, group, and individual responses

to enhance communal and personal resilience. In 2024, the hotline will launch a training course and expand its volunteer base by a third to handle the anticipated increase in inquiries, ensuring they are equipped to provide ongoing assistance in emergencies.

Efrat Frank VP of The Aguda

and personal resilience. Research indicates that community support plays a crucial role in alleviating symptoms of trauma and anxiety, reinforcing our belief that together, we can navigate through complex and intricate circumstances. As the war erupted on October 7, the hotline anticipated heightened activity. Throughout October, we operated with 30% more staff than the previous month, corresponding with the 35% increase in call volume from September to October. Simultaneously, we proactively reached out to community members lacking familial support, collaborating with the Tel Aviv LGBTQ center. Operating the hotline demanded exceptional strength from our volunteers, prompting us to conduct regular dialogue and sharing


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