The Underutilization of Mental Health Services By the Arab Population in Israel
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Over the past half-century, the geopolitical conflict between Israel and Palestine has resulted in the formation of two opposing narratives: that of the liberated Israeli and that of the displaced Palestinian. The Israeli and Palestinian narratives have entirely different insights regarding the establishment of Israel and the series of events that followed. In the midst of these two conflicting narratives, a third has emerged: that of the Arab-Israeli. The Arab population within Israel faces a unique set of challenges and disadvantages, and decades of sustained tension from the conflict has had significant effects on the group's mental health. Despite the severity of these effects, Arab-Israelis have demonstrated a pattern of underutilization of mental health services. In the present study, this pattern was investigated. Interviews were conducted with 10 Arab Israelis from the villages Tamra and Sakhnin to explore the accessibility and perception of ' mental health services in the community and to examine key themes present in the Arab-Israeli narrative. Analysis of the interview data suggests that the pattern of underutilization is caused by two main factors: cultural stigmas discouraging the use of psychological resources and a distrust of Israeli-governed services. Together, these factors dissuade The Arab population in• Israel from utilizing mental health services.