500 learn how to spot signs and symptoms of mental illness

AWARENESS: Rabbi Dov Benyaacov Kurtsman, Dr Robert Block, Debra Frazer, Bernie Garner, Dr Sandi Mann, Jonny Wineberg, Dr James Glass, Dr Paul Abeles, Daniel Nissen and MP Ivan Lewis

MORE than 500 people attended a groundbreaking mental health awareness event at Prestwich Hebrew Congregation on Saturday evening.

The event aimed to increase awareness of mental illness in the Jewish community and offer practical guidance in identifying signs and symptoms of acute psychological distress, what to do about it and how to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event.

The audience heard from experts Rabbi Dov Benyaacov- Kurtzman, Dr Robert Block, Debra Frazer, The Fed’s Bernie Garner, Dr Sandi Mann, Jonny Wineberg, Dr James Glass, Dr Paul Abeles, Daniel Nissen and Ivan Lewis MP.

Jewish Telegraph columnist Dr Mann, who co-ordinated the event, said: “We are committed to continuing this initiative for the wellbeing of all our community, both young and old.

Also speaking was Heaton Park Synagogue’s Rabbi Daniel Walker, who told of the communal and individual responsibility, stressing the importance of encouraging children to be “kind and accepting” of everyone, even if “different or weird”.

This was followed by a call for action from Mr Lewis, who reminded organisations and donors to “resist the temptation” to carry out their own isolated initiatives. Instead, he said, they should combine efforts and resources to benefit the whole community.

Dr Mann announced that further events for young people — as well as the wider community — were being planned, with a strategy group taking the initiative forward.

The Fed’s director of community services, Bernie Garner, told the Jewish Telegraph afterwards: “The massive attendance was indicative of the level of concern in the community around this topic.

“I will continue to be part of the steering group which will scope out a community-wide response to support vulnerable children and adults experiencing mental health issues.

“The plan will involve the creation of a range of support and advice services for the whole family of such an individual.

“The Fed has long-established services through which we work directly with vulnerable children and adults.

“These include helping people access the right psychological and medical support — especially in times of crisis.”

* Details:

To watch the event in full, visit

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