The attacks don’t only bring physical damage to the Palestinians but also physiological. Trauma has hit again where great number of children are in panic in fear.
The number of children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders including depression has increased in the occupied Palestinian territory where conflict continues with Israel, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Palestinian NGOs specializing in mental health.
Violations against Palestinian children related to the armed conflict between Israelis and Palestinians have been documented by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Jerusalem, including patterns of killing and injuries, arrest and detention, ill-treatment and torture, displacement and denial of access to health and education services.
Children are doubly affected, sometimes by multiple traumatic events and by the effects of the trauma on their parents and care-givers.
MSF recently increased its number of clinics and staff training in developmental psychology to meet the growing needs of Palestinian children. Fifty-four percent of mental health patients at MSF clinics in the Gaza Strip were under 12 in 2010, it said. Over a third of the cases MSF treats in Gaza and over half in Nablus in the West Bank are severe, and affect the functioning of a person in daily life.
“More than half of consultations in Gaza and in Nablus are for children under 18 years old, so far in 2011,” said Hélène Thomas, psychological coordinator at MSF-France in Jerusalem.
Photos by Agencies