For several years, Professor Rael Strous, director of Mayanei Hayeshua’s Mental Health Center, has decried the fact that visitors to psychiatric wards in Israel do not bring bouquets of flowers. He has often shared his pain that patients in psychiatric wards are not treated in the same way as patients in the other hospital wards. According to Professor Strous, these “invisible patients” in psychiatric wards are a symptom of the lingering stigma of mental illness.
“Flowers, as an expression of therapeutic and environmental support, add so much encouragement, light and atmosphere in hospital wards,” says Professor Strous. “Everyone involved in the medical system recognises this. A fundamental and revolutionary change is required in how we deal with mental health.”
A group of Tel Aviv University medical students who have been attending Professor Strous’ lectures have absorbed his message about the lack of flowers, and they came up with an exciting and practical initiative. Aided by a crowdfunding campaign among fellow students at the University, these medical students personally distribute flowers to all the patients in Mayanei Hayeshua’s psychiatry wards every Friday.
Thanks to the inspiring words and sensitive vision of their lecturer and mentor, Professor Strous, the new generation of doctors being trained at Mayanei Hayeshua is being guided by their hearts and their souls. They are learning the important holistic principle that mental patients are human beings, who deserve the same respect as other patients. The weekly bouquets of therapeutic flowers are a wonderful expression of this vision.