80% of children in the Gaza Strip suffer from depression

80% of children in the Gaza Strip suffer from depression

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Four out of five children in the Gaza Strip suffer from depression, grief and fear caused by Israel’s fifteen-year blockade of the territory, according to a report published by Save the Children.

The report, entitled Trapped, interviewed 488 children and 168 parents and caregivers in the Gaza Strip. This is a continuation of a similar study conducted by the organization in 2018.

The blockade of the Gaza Strip began in June 2007, which greatly affected the territory’s economy and limited movement. It mainly affects children, who make up 47 percent of Gaza’s two million population.

Some 800,000 children from Gaza have never known life without a blockade and have had to face what the report describes as six life-threatening situations – five escalations of violence and the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent Save the Children study found that the mental well-being of children, youth and caregivers has dropped dramatically since their last report four years ago, with the number of children reporting emotional stress rising from 55 percent to 80 percent.

The report also showed a significant increase in the number of children reporting being afraid (84 percent compared to 50 percent in 2018), nervous (80 percent compared to 55 percent), sadness or depression (77 percent compared to 62 percent). and sadness. (78 percent compared to 55 percent).

Save the Children also reports that more than half of children in Gaza have contemplated suicide, and three in five have thought about self- harm .

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Contributing factors to the mental health crisis for children and youth in Gaza are the lack of access to basic services such as health care and the ongoing blockade.

According to health professionals interviewed in the report, 79 percent of Gaza’s children have suffered from bedwetting in recent years, and 59 percent of them said there is an increasing number of children experiencing speech, language and communication difficulties.

Save the Children has warned that the impact of these symptoms on children’s development, learning and social interactions is immediate and long-term.

He called on the Israeli Government to take immediate steps to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and end the ongoing occupation.

“We call on all parties to address the root causes of this conflict and take steps to protect all children and families who deserve to live in safety and dignity. We need to urgently end the conflict and economic hardship, which are a great source of stress in children’s lives, and take action to support the potential survival and resilience of children and their families in the Gaza Strip,” the organization said in a statement. .

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