War and mental health

The impact of the destruction in Gaza will extend far beyond the time taken to rebuild public infrastructure, hospitals, universities, and apartment buildings.  Some are predicting that more than half of the children in Gaza will suffer from posttraumatic-stress disorder.  A revealing excerpt from a Newsweek piece:

Our host Hassan says all his three children now climb in bed with their parents, which they hadn’t done in years. His son Abdullah, 14, came to him half way through all this and handed him a letter, which he had carefully and beautifully written out. In it the boy pleas formally with his father to “remember me when I am dead, and promise to bury me near Grandmother and Grandfather, and please visit my grave every week.” The father wept for half an hour after reading it, he says. Abdullah, his 10-year-old son, one long night when the bombing was particularly bad, held his mother and said “please watch my eyes and make sure I don’t go to sleep, mama,” as Hassan related it. “He was afraid he would die and not wake up.”

War has a devastating, long-lasting impact on people’s health, whether they be innocent civilians or soldiers.  War recovery plans must prioritize the treatment of PTSD amongst the efforts to treat the rehabilitate the wounded and rebuild public health infrastructure.  So far, we are failing – both as a country and as a global community.

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Welcome to the Students for Global Health Equity (SGHE) blog. Published by university students, the SGHE blog seeks to explore news and issues related to global health.

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