Gaza Pediatric Mental Health Initiative

This is a Gaza-only initiative that was organized as an early response to the war in 2014, in which tens of thousands of children were psychologically traumatized from direct exposure to violence. The impact of these children has been a significant rise in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and we are working with local organizations and NGOs to provide medication, therapy and professional support and intervention to help support the health of these children.

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.

Support Our Work

The Gaza Pediatric Mental Health Initiative is a ground-breaking project  to provide  post-disaster psychological support and treatment for targeted children, as well as training for local community-based organizations (CBO)s to better serve marginalized communities.

Program Details

  • Provide immediate treatment for the most significantly impacted children we  have already been identified through fieldwork and field studies.
  • Partner with local and international organizations to provide the required services and treatment
  • Increase coordination of care between the PCRF social workers and local mental health providers
  • Develop the capacity within Gaza  to provide basic therapeutic support through hiring clinical social workers with mental health experience
  • Develop group interventions for parents of moderately to severely affected children
  • Providing training for social workers in CBOs to help better support patients in need.
  • Provide drugs through partner NGOs for poor people to better deal with mental health issues for poor patients.
  • Recruit volunteers to assist in training of staff social workers monthly to bi-monthly on topics pertaining to mental health.
  • Bring in training teams of clinicians; psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists to train local staff and partnering organizations.
  • Develop and initiate group interventions designed to provide a therapeutic outlet for children.
  • Develop and initiate group interventions designed to provide psycho-education and processing outlet for parents.
  • Build therapeutic playgrounds in collaboration with Playgrounds for Palestine to create safe and happy environments for the children to recover and reintegrate into society.

This video helps to humanize what our kids in Gaza are going through.  Ghozlan is a young girl who has seen too much war and suffering already in her young life. We hope that you will watch and share.

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