The Division of Psychiatry in the Faculty of Health Sciences comprises fourteen faculty members (seven positions) at the level of lecturer and above. All are employed by the Soroka General Hospital, the Beer-Sheva Mental Health Center or the Barzilai General Hospital and only a part of their time is devoted to teaching and research, while a large part is devoted to care of patients.
Main areas of research in the department include lithium treatment of manic depressive illness and the development of safer substitutes; genetics of personality; the treatment of anxiety disorders; inositol treatment of depression and panic; magnetic stimulation of brain as a treatment for depression; use of antisense oligonucleotides as potential treatments of post-traumatic stress disorder; glycogen synthase kinase in schizophrenia; homocysteine studies in schizophrenia.
The Division teaches actively in the program leading to the M.D. and provides training for physicians specializing in psychiatry. There is a program for psychologists to fulfill specialty requirements for accreditation in clinical psychology.
The Ida and Solomon Stern Psychiatry Research Unit accommodates post-doctoral fellows in psychobiology in a well-equipped neurochemical laboratory physically located at the Beer-Sheva Mental Health Center and Directed by Prof Galila Agam. Work in this laboratory won the AE Bennett International Award for research in psychiatry (1988), the Anna Monika Prize for research in depression (1991), and the Ziskind-Somerfeld Senior Research Award of the International Society for Biological Psychiatry both in 1992 (Gabriel Schreiber and Sofia Avissar) and 1993 (Ora Kofman and R.H. Belmaker).
A laboratory of anxiety and posttraumatic disorders was opened in 1995 by Prof. Zeev Kaplan and the scientist in this unit, Dr. Hagit Cohen, won the 1997 ECNP Travel Fellowship award for young scientists. The European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Lilly Research Award was received by R.H. Belmaker in 1996. In 1998 the Stanley Foundation established an International Center for Bipolar Research at the Beer Sheva Mental Health Center.