Gaza Pediatric Mental Health Initiative

Gaza Pediatric Mental Health Initiative

This Gaza-only initiative was organized as an early response to the war in 2014, when tens of thousands of Gaza children were psychologically traumatized from direct exposure to violence. In 2018 our focus moved to train local Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to help them better respond to this crisis facing children in Gaza.

About Our Gaza Pediatric Mental Health Initiative

In 2014, the entire population of Gaza, which is 50% children, was subjected to 55 days or bombardment from land, sea and air, resulting in thousands of dead and injured civilians. The PCRF initiated a field study in which we found thousands of children suffering from high forms of stress and anxiety as a result of witnessing the violence firsthand. Working with partners from the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP) and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), we began different approaches to intervening with the children and their families. This included group therapy, one-on-one therapy, medication support, summer camps and other activities to assist in their treatment. In 2015, we were supported by Islamic Relief in the USA for this project, and in 2017, Cycling4Gaza raised funds to support our ongoing efforts to alleviate the hardship and suffering of children who are enduring psychological trauma in Gaza.

Program Details

Medical care for children in Lebanon and Jordan We have been identifying children from the refugee camps in both of those two countries and arranging surgery for them in local hospitals in both countries, but doing crowd funding through our newsletter and online sources. Dozens of injured or sick Syrian kids have been treated that way in the past few years. Sending kids abroad for free care This is a challenge because a lot of the Syrian kids flee without passports and are not able to get ones made as refugees outside of the country, but for those who have, we still follow their case and help them after they return for treatment.

Following the 2014 fifty-five day bombing of Gaza, PCRF initiated a campaign to determine the extent of the impact of the violence on the mental health of children there. Working with our volunteer mental health specialists from Stanford University, we were able to determine the following:

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