Sunday, 17 January 2016

Gaza’s children grow up with trauma

From ther Electronic Intifada - It has taken Mansour’s mother a long time to learn to cope with her 12-year-old son’s changing personality.

Once a top student, Mansour has become aggressive and disobedient. His grades are down, his mother says, and he suffers night terrors.

Mansour’s mother can date his transformation to Israel’s war on Gaza in 2014.

“He was a top student before then. He used to be a cheerful boy,” she recalled.

During the assault, the family had to evacuate their home and move to a UN shelter, a school that was then also bombed. Since then, Mansour’s mother told The Electronic Intifada, he now prefers to be alone at school or at home. He has also started wetting the bed.

“He is easily terrified by loud sounds like thunder,” according to his mother who, like other families interviewed for this story, declined to be named in order to protect their privacy.

These are classic signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, though as health care professionals at the Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP) never tire of pointing out, in Gaza there is never any “post.”

GCMHP, Gaza’s best known mental health care provider founded in 1990, has noted a sharp rise in the number of children and adults with PTSD since the 2014 attack. more


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