International Medical Corps Delivering Critical Mental Health Care for Families Affected by Violence in Gaza
September 2, 2014 - Los Angeles, Calif. – In response to the humanitarian emergency in Gaza, International Medical Corps has deployed three doctors and one nurse to support the emergency health response. Having operated in Gaza since 2008, the organization is assessing immediate humanitarian needs and providing mental health and psychosocial support to families affected by the violence.
According to UNICEF, at least 373,000 children have been directly affected by death within their close family and/or destruction of their homes. As mental health is a critical and often-overlooked area of response in a crisis, especially for children, International Medical Corps has prioritized the delivery of mental health and psychosocial services along with its emergency medical intervention. Working with up to 24 community-based groups in Gaza, International Medical Corps will provide Psychological First Aid training for child care workers, establish child-friendly spaces, providing a safe space and supportive environment for children through a range of appropriate activities and programs, and distribute non-food items. For children who have experienced or witnessed distressing events or violence, having a safe place to play, learn and explore is crucial to bringing a sense of normalcy to their lives and establishing predictable routines.
With a long-time presence in the Middle East and a strong network of local partners, International Medical Corps is well-positioned to deliver rapid, effective and comprehensive emergency relief to vulnerable populations in the region. In Gaza, the organization has worked to provide emergency medical, mental health and psychosocial care, and early childhood development while strengthening the capacity of local service providers, caregivers and service users. International Medical Corps has trained local health care workers to identify and manage common and severe mental health problems and refer those in need of specialized services to mental health case management teams.
Since its inception 30 years ago, International Medical Corps' mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance. For more information visit: www.InternationalMedicalCorps.org. Also see us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.