In a rapid assessment of mental health and psychosocial needs in Gaza, International Medical Corps teams found levels of psychological stress, shock and grief common among survivors of conflict. If left unaddressed, these conditions could lead to larger mental health issues that often emerge in post-disaster environments such as depression, anxiety, emotional trauma, family disintegration and domestic violence. The assessment also found children to be among those most affected by the conflict. One of them was Nora, 16, who received in-home care thanks to an International Medical Corps team. Nora’s home was hit by tank shells. Her family fled, but her brother was killed. While she was running, a drone rocket exploded nearby. She awoke in the hospital to find she lost her leg. Surgeons had to amputate her left leg just above the knee to save her life.
While she still needed her wounds dressed, it was very difficult for her family to bring her to the clinic because the roads were destroyed and they could only use donkey carts. This was both painful and humiliating for Nora, so the International Medical Corps health team made house calls to treat her wounds under local anesthesia and prevent infection. Each time her leg was dressed, she would share with the International Medical Corps doctor how hopeless she felt. She had lost her leg, her brother, her home, and she was worried that her future might be at stake too. The doctor, who was trained to provide mental health support, actively listened to Nora. By helping Nora clarify her problems and brainstorm options for further education and prosthesis, the doctor was able to promote her mental and physical healing.