Doctors and Specialists: A third of the population of the Gaza Strip needs psychological and social support

Doctors and mental health specialists working for international organizations confirmed that one-third of the population of the Gaza Strip needs psychological and social support as a result of the deteriorating living and economic conditions and the harsh conditions experienced by families as a result of the Israeli clampdown on the Strip.


Dr. Akihiro Seta, Director of the Health Department at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees "UNRWA", said that "one third of Gazans have some psychological problems."


In an interview with Al-Ghad TV on the sidelines of a conference held yesterday in Gaza, Sita added, "This is evident from the fact that 40% of first-grade students suffer from health and psychological problems."


Sita expressed his concern over the steady increase in the number of cases in need of psychological and social support in Gaza.


He said: "We in UNRWA are very concerned about the steady increase in numbers, not only in the current period, but in the future. Therefore, this is a problem that needs solutions."


He explained that they have two basic plans, firstly, to modernize the health system so that mental health is integrated into the integrated health system for UNRWA numbers, and secondly, to work with partners to provide more services in relation to psychological support.


"The number is increasing, and we need more support in terms of mental health in Gaza," he added.


In turn, Dr. Yousef Shaheen, Head of the UNRWA Disease Prevention and Control Program, said, "The mental health and psychological support program provided by UNRWA is one of the most important programs to follow up and treat more than 87,000 cases in the Gaza Strip."


Regarding the symptoms that appear on the cases, Shaheen explained, they appear on patients with depression and epilepsy, and there are other cases related to chronic diseases and physical diseases for which we do not find an explanation and are of psychological origin.


He added, "We are working with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the governmental and non-governmental sectors to promote the mental health of the residents of the Gaza Strip."


Shaheen confirmed that there is a difficulty in some patients responding to treatment, but there are positive indications, and we are working with our colleagues with maximum capacity to provide services to cases in Gaza.


He said, "There is a heavy burden on colleagues, but we are working as a team to overcome difficulties."


For her part, Dr. Ghada Al-Jadba, Head of the UNRWA Health Program, said that people in Gaza live in a state of frustration and psychological deterioration as a result of the deteriorating economic, social and political conditions.


Al-Jeddah said in an interview, that the psychological situation of the population before the Corona pandemic was deteriorating, and the war came in May 2021 and led to a psychological shock in addition to the life conditions of electricity and water cuts and high rates of poverty and unemployment, all factors that led to the deterioration of the health and psychological situation of the residents of Gaza.


Al-Jadba explained that there are many symptoms and psychological problems may be translated by some patients into physical problems such as persistent headaches, stomach pain, joints, fatigue, anxiety, feeling depressed, lack of sleep, nightmares, inability to dialogue, desire for isolation, and the least thing that may The person explodes and leads to domestic violence, and you may even reach the point of suicidal ideation, which has increased.”


On her part, Michaela Lapisini, Director of the Child Protection Department at UNICEF in Palestine, indicated that the organization provided assistance to more than 42,000 children in the Gaza Strip last year to access mental health service through family or partner centers in Gaza.


Lapisini stressed that funding is one of the obstacles that we face in reaching a larger number of children, and that is why we are working with our main and local partners in Gaza to ensure that the largest number of children is reached within the available possibilities.


For his part, Dr. Sami Oweida from the Gaza Mental Health Program said that the numbers that need psychological and social support may be greater than the ones mentioned, based on professional impressions and research statistics.


Owaida confirmed the existence of a strong relationship between the psychological state in Gaza or psychological disorders and its causes, one of the most important in the development of the bad psychological state in the Gaza Strip is the presence of the Israeli occupation and the siege and its consequences.


Oweida pointed out that more than 65% of the population of Gaza lives below the poverty line, and more than 60% are unemployed, in addition to the tragic cases that cannot work or provide the most basic needs of the house.


He said: "Sometimes suicide is an inevitable result of difficult situations. When the head of the family does not find anything to support his family, he will feel frustrated and worthless, and therefore with the development of the bad psychological state and the lack of interventions possible, he believes that death is more comfortable than survival, and this explains the existing suicide cases." ".


He added: "There is a negative situation as long as the occupation remains, job opportunities are few and the bad economic situation is not expected to improve the psychological situation."


He added, "There is a great need for psychotherapeutic interventions, the sources are scarce, and the working crews cannot cover all cases."


He said, "He talked about a large prison that houses two million, 200, and hundreds of thousands who need psychological support."

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