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Ben-Gurion University CARES About Mental Health

Ben-Gurion University CARES About Mental Health

May 22, 2013

Medical Research, Negev Development & Community Programs

A new Center for the Advancement of Research on Stress Related Disorders (CARES) at BGU will be dedicated to the promotion of awareness and understanding of depression, anxiety and other related disorders.

“The prevalence of stress related disorders is extremely high and their consequences are formidable,” says Prof. Golan Shahar, the founding director of the Center and a member of BGU’s Department of Psychology.

“For instance, The World Health Organization has labeled depression one of the world’s most alarming epidemics. Depression kills by suicide, by increasing mortality through physical illness and by increasing violent behavior,” says Prof. Shahar.

“Anxiety disorders usually go along with depression, and they are both partly caused by stress,” he adds.

“In fact, external stress – ranging from daily hassles to calamitous events – appears to be the number one psychosocial risk factor for any kind of mental and physical illness.”

Prof. Shahar believes that the University is uniquely situated to contribute to this major societal and medical problem globally. “BGU is committed to both scientific excellence and community involvement,” he says.

“Leveraging ties with Soroka University Medical Center and the Mental Health Center in Beer-Sheva, the CARES Center also seeks to form bridges between clinical teams and basic science researchers,” says Prof. Shahar who, prior to his arrival at BGU, served as assistant professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at Yale University.

“We have the interdisciplinary brainpower exemplified by the presence of a team of top-notch investigators including Prof. Hagit Cohen, Faculty of Health Sciences and the Mental Health Center in Beer-Sheva; Prof. Alon Friedman, Head of the Zlotowski Center for Neuroscience; Prof. Haim Belmaker, M.D., Faculty of Health Sciences and the Mental Health Center in Beer-Sheva; Prof. Joshua Lipsitz, Department of Psychology; Prof. Gary Diamond, Department of Psychology; Dr. Hadar Shalev, M.D., Soroka University Medical Center, and many others.”

BGU’s CARES Center will have a dual focus. First, it will lay the foundation for groundbreaking, cross-disciplinary research by forming bridges between seemingly unrelated disciplines.

Second, it will seek to increase public awareness as to the prevalence, consequences, assessment, treatment and prevention of depression and anxiety as well as to inform policymakers.