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80% of children in Gaza suffer psychological distress: rights group

June 26, 2023 at 3:31 pm

Palestinian kids stand in front of a ‘Free Gaza’ themed graffiti named ‘Invasion Kills Children’ and made by Palestinian artists on the walls of demolished houses in Dayr al-Balah district of Gaza city, Gaza on June 08, 2023 [Ali Jadallah – Anadolu Agency]

Director General of the Gaza Mental Health Programme, Dr. Yasser Abu Jameh, said a recent study has shown that eight out of ten children in the besieged Gaza Strip suffer from psychological distress.

On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Dr. Abu Jameh explained that studies and research have pointed to the psychological effects on the people in Gaza. In 2022 Save the Children said the majority – or 80 per cent – of children in Gaza are mentally distressed, he added.

He added that two-thirds of parents in the Gaza Strip feel that they are unable to provide adequate support to their children or feel that they are unable to perform their roles as parents.

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According to Dr. Abu Jameh, the Palestinian society in the besieged Gaza Strip suffers from several problems, most notably the Israeli occupation and the blockade, where two-thirds of the people are refugees and nearly half of them suffer from unemployment, explaining that these facts overshadow the psychological reality of the residents.

He noted that some recent statistics revealed that more than 200,000 citizens in the Gaza Strip, and at least a tenth of the population in the Gaza Strip are going through psychological hardships that reach the level of moderate and severe mental disorder.

“Certainly, these statistics are in line with many international statistics confirming that about 10% of the population in areas exposed to human disasters or resulting from wars suffer from moderate to severe mental illnesses,” he said.

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