Mental Health Under Siege

October 10, 2020

iF Charity International Days 2020-World Mental Health Day

Today marks World Mental Health Day. This day was created to recognise the importance of mental health and to advocate for better mental health for everyone.

The people of the Gaza Strip already face immense mental pressures, with a tragic rise in suicides and ongoing traumatic stress for a huge proportion of the population, many of the children. The Covid 19 Pandemic has only added to this and has made addressing the mental well being of people even more urgent.

Poverty, violence and the siege have limited people’s livelihoods, health, opportunities and their hope in their own future.

With 80% of the population already living in poverty and high unemployment, more and more families are now in need of support to survive. The burden this places of carers and parents is huge and is likely to increase any ongoing anxiety or depression they may already be coping with.

The fear of getting sick is likely to impact those already unwell and the elderly, and with the health sector in Gaza already under pressure, medical professionals and key workers have also come under extreme strain and stress.

The impact of lockdown is often difficult on women and children. Npt being able to attend school can exacerbate issues whilst women bear the burdens of caring for the family, the household and are left unable to look after their own well being. Domestic violence is also known to increase during times of high stress, and with more men unable to leave the home, their frustrations are sadly taken out on their own family members.

Addressing the mental health of people in Gaza is not only important it is vital. In the absence of an end to the siege, the well being of those living under these conditions needs to be looked at from every angle. iF Charity has always understood this and has funded trauma counselling, outreach services and address the things that cause stress and issues (such as livelihoods and poverty) to improve people’s ability to cope. There is much more that needs to be done, and with your help we will continue to work for the physical and mental well being of our beneficiaries in Gaza.

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