Miriam Ballin, a haredi or Ultra Orthodox Jew who grew up in Houston, Texas and lived there until age 12 is on her way to Houston with a delegation of 6 from United Hatzalah to help Hurricane Harvey victims cope with trauma. United Hatzalah is a volunteer emergency medical service organization with more than 3,000 volunteers around Israel, who collectively make themselves available around the clock – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
In addition to her day job as a family therapist, Ballin, 33, is the head of the United Hatzalah’s Psychotrauma Unit. “Our job is to ground [victims] and connect them to reality, discussing what they saw and helping them process it,” Ballin said regarding addressing trauma victims and the work of her and her team.
Dov Maisel, United Hatzalah’s vice president of international operations, said the message he has received is that plenty of medical and first responders are on the ground, but that with many people displaced and looking for loved ones, psychological support is much needed.
“As a small organization from a small country, we found we could make the biggest impact by mobilizing our Psychotrauma Unit,” Maisel said. “The provision of psychological support in the acute stages of trauma, from incident to seven days, is something we’re leading the world in.”
For more information on United Hatzalah, watch their promotional video for TED Med below.