The Soteria model: implementing an alternative to acute psychiatric hospitalization in Israel

Avraham Friedlander, Dana Tzur Bitan, Pesach Lichtenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Since 2016, Soteria homes have been operating in Israel. In this report we describe the implementation of the model. Methods: Data for 486 residents staying in one of three Soteria homes from 2016 through 2020 are presented. The model, and necessary modifications, are discussed. Results: The majority of the residents in the Soteria homes suffered from psychotic (41.3%) or bipolar disorder (20.9%) and were of a mean age of 34.5 (SD = 12.83). While operating according to the principles of Soteria, adaptations had to be made. The homes used professional staff as well as companions. Accepting a wide range of residents exposed the home to situations of violent behaviour which required adjustment in admission policy. Work with insurers limited the possible length of stay. Financial constraints expanded the home capacity to 10 residents, while limiting work shifts to 12 hours. Cultural considerations led to the establishment of single-gender homes. Discussion: Soteria homes can be a viable component of publicly-funded mental health care systems. The implementation of the Soteria model can provide important lessons for the future development of a professional and humane mental health care service–not as an alternative, but as an integral part of the system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Soteria
  • alternatives to hospitalization
  • health services research
  • mental health care
  • therapeutic community

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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