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Israel Defense Forces: The "Magen" Program

The "Magen" Program

During Operation Protective Edge the Israeli Defense Forces implemented a new program entitled "Magen", or "shield" aimed at helping soldiers combat stress disorders and PTSD. The program was developed by the Israeli Medical Corps, and provides a basic 8-hour class to help soldiers identify and treat signs of stress, trauma, or shell shock in their fellow soldiers. In the past shell-shocked and traumatized soldiers were evacuated in the same way as other wounded individuals, but this new program is giving IDF soldiers the skills to address these issues in the field. Helping these soldiers in the field can be an important step in preventing the development of PTSD later on. 

According to Israeli Medical Corps official numbers, the assistance received for trauma and stress in the field helped more than 80% of victims successfully return to fulfilling their duties during Operation Protective Edge. A senior Medical Corps Officer stated that the best person to identify a change in a soldier's behavior due to PTSD or being shell-shocked is not a military psychologist, but their fellow soldiers in the field with them. This program seeks to reduce the number of IDF soldiers and veterans with PTSD, and also increase the knowledge and competence of the troops. 

The “Magen” program was developed following the gruesome death of Lt. Hila Bezaleli who was crushed by a light fixture while setting up for an Independence Day celebration in 2012. Her death was witnessed by dozens of IDF soldiers, many of whom were deeply disturbed by the event. 

Sources: Israel Hayom