As violence escalated in Israel and Palestine in early October 2023, many online readers noticed an unusual promotion posted on the official X account for the state of Israel: six months of free mental health services with the company BetterHelp for people in Israel “affected by the war.”
In a viral TikTok, user pearlmania500 shared a screenshot of the post from X, expressing surprise at the announcement: “Israel declared war, and then they declared a collab with BetterHelp. [...] What the f*ck is next? HelloFresh for Ukraine? UberEats for Syria?”
This was indeed a real post on X, published by the verified account of the state of Israel. The full post, published on Oct. 10, 2023, stated: “Thank you to all of the incredible Israeli companies, volunteers and individuals who are coming together to help as many people during this horrific time. @betterhelp, a company which offers therapy is providing 6 months of free therapy to those affected by the war in Israel.”
The conflict began on Oct. 7, 2023, when the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 Israelis, as of the time of this writing. Israel subsequently declared war and attacked and blockaded Gaza, actions that resulted in the deaths of more than 2,000 Palestinians, as of this writing. There are at least 200 known Israeli hostages taken by Hamas militants. Experts, according to The New York Times, believe the hostages are being held in underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip. Hamas' attacks came after months of surges in violence against Palestinians by the Israeli military. Gaza is presently facing a humanitarian crisis as a result of Israeli strikes.
We looked up BetterHelp's "Israel Support" page. There is no restriction on who receives therapy from the service, which states on the website that it "is available to anyone impacted, regardless of location and nationality." The company does, however, require users to submit a valid payment method to prevent abuse, adding that the card will not be charged. The website directs users to a questionnaire asking them to put in their identifying information, including marital and economic status.
(Screenshot via BetterHelp.com)
Chris Stenrud, a spokesperson for Teladoc Health, a telemedicine company that acquired BetterHelp in 2015, reached out to us to emphasize, "This is an independent initiative, and we have not worked with the Israeli government on this or any other organization. The support is not limited to Israelis and applies to anyone affected by the war, anywhere."
We should also note that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that BetterHelp had previously shared customers’ health data — which it had promised to keep private, including information about mental health challenges — with companies like Facebook and Snapchat. In March 2023, BetterHealth agreed to settle with the FTC by returning $7.8 million to customers, and an FTC order restricted how they could share consumer data in the future.
Given that this was a real post from the verified account of the state of Israel, we rate this as a “Correct Attribution.”