Friday, May 24th

LATEST:
You are here: People Entertainment Marriage fears, stigma stop Gaza girls seeking mental health care

Best_of_2015_587x57_Results

Marriage fears, stigma stop Gaza girls seeking mental health care

gazagirlsLONDON--When Maha, a nine-year-old Palestinian girl living in Gaza, visited a doctor to seek treatment for mental health problems she was told not to come back or she would likely be stigmatised for life, ruining her marriage prospects.
  Despite high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression in the Palestinian territory, mental health experts say families often avoid seeking help for their daughters for fear of wrecking the family reputation and the girl's chances of finding a husband.
  "There is a general stigma and lack of awareness around mental health," said Bassam Abu Hamad, a public health consultant at Al Quds University in Gaza. "People think mental health problems are something to do with the devil and supernatural forces. They think that people with such problems have lost their minds and are crazy."
  Hamad says Maha's story highlights the worrying gaps in mental health services in Gaza, the cultural barriers girls face in accessing care and the urgent need for better training of general doctors. "In Maha's case, the doctor - a general practitioner - said that continuing to visit mental health services would affect her reputation and she would be stigmatised forever," Hamad said.
  Maha was originally taken to the doctor primarily for epilepsy, which in Gaza is treated as a mental health issue. Her condition deteriorated during last year's conflict in the territory after she had to run for her life when the family's home in Beit Hanoun was bombed.
  Maha, now 13, became very withdrawn and suffered repeated nightmares. It was only when her mother took her back to a doctor for an injury that she was finally referred to a specialist.
  There are no figures for the prevalence of mental health problems in Gaza, but the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates the proportion of people suffering mild or moderate disorders rises to 15-20 percent during a humanitarian emergency compared to 10 percent outside a crisis.  Some experts say up to a third of the population may be affected by mental disorders after exposure to violence, the death of loved ones and the loss of homes, livelihoods and support networks.
  WHO estimates the proportion of people with severe mental disorders including psychosis - which can cause hallucinations or delusions - rises to 3-4 percent during a crisis up from a baseline 2-3 percent.
  Hamad said families are loath to seek mental health care services for sons as well as daughters, but the reluctance is more pronounced with a girl because of the potential impact on her reputation. "It's a patriarchal community so women are judged more harshly," he said.
  WHO mental health officer for Gaza, Dyaa Saymah, said part of the reason girls with mental health disorders face particular stigma is due to the misconception that mental problems are strongly hereditary. "People believe when a mother with a mental health illness gives birth she may pass this on to her baby. This is why they are afraid of getting married to a girl who has developed some sort of problem," Saymah said.
  Beliefs that mental health problems are hereditary - although there can be genetic links they are only one factor - mean families in Gaza may even hide away a relative with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia to protect their daughters' reputations.
  Experts say the protracted conflict in Gaza has triggered acute levels of psycho-social distress, especially among children and adolescents who make up nearly half the territory's 1.8 million inhabitants. Many are emotionally shattered after living through three wars in the past seven years, the last one being the most devastating.
  Fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant groups killed more than 2,100 Palestinians during a 50-day war and caused massive destruction to homes and schools in the small coastal strip. The United Nations estimated that 373,000 children required specialised psychosocial support.
  Day-to-day suffering has been compounded by a blockade - imposed by Israel in 2007 after Hamas won elections - which has exacerbated unemployment, poverty and levels of depression.
  Hamad said it was often harder for girls in Gaza to deal with traumatic experiences than boys because of cultural factors including severe restrictions on their movement which leave them far more isolated. Boys can spend time with friends in the streets and play sport, but girls do not have similar outlets or opportunities to socialise, he said.
  Hamad said mass displacement to overcrowded mixed shelters during last year's conflict had been particularly stressful for adolescent girls because of the lack of privacy and sanitation. Girls in shelters had to remain veiled at all times despite it being the height of summer, and many developed bladder-related problems because of a lack of separate toilets.
  But mental health experts say there have been positive developments in Gaza. In particular, mental health services are being integrated into all primary health care centres across the territory which will help reduce the problem of people avoiding such services. In addition, counselling is provided across Gaza's schools.

Image
St. Maarten midday Weather Forecast for Saturday
Saturday, 17 October 2015
DATE ISSUED: Saturday, October 17, 2015 @ 12:00 LST (16:00 UTC) VALID UNTIL: Sunday midday (12:00... Read more...
Image
SHTA poll: Businesses want anti-ship-jumping legislation
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Click here for SHTA graph pdf PHILIPSBURG--The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association... Read more...
Image
Dominica’s tourism sector ready to welcome visitors after TS Erika
Friday, 16 October 2015
ROSEAU, Dominica--“Dominica is open for business and ready to welcome visitors to its shores.”... Read more...
Image
Reparations Committee: Withdraw Queens’ names from Suriname’s highest mountains
Thursday, 15 October 2015
PARAMARIBO--Suriname’s National Reparations Committee NRCS has filed a request with President... Read more...
Image
Ex-US House Speaker Hastert to plead guilty in hush-money case
Friday, 16 October 2015
CHICAGO--Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is expected to plead guilty in a hush-money case... Read more...
Image
Hillary Clinton to 'look hard' at Julian Castro as possible VP pick
Friday, 16 October 2015
WASHINGTON--Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton won the backing of Housing and Urban... Read more...
Image
Half a million Yemen children face severe malnutrition
Friday, 16 October 2015
GENEVA--More than half a million children in Yemen face life-threatening malnutrition as a risk of... Read more...
Image
Modi to open 70-year-old files in challenge to Gandhi dynasty
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW DELHI--Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will seek to unravel one of India's most enduring... Read more...
Image
Cuba in cash crunch due to low commodity prices, Venezuela woes
Friday, 16 October 2015
HAVANA--Low commodity prices, a drought at home and Venezuela's economic crisis have created a cash... Read more...
Image
Apple's newest courtroom foe is patent-savvy university
Friday, 16 October 2015
NEW YORK--As a veteran of the global smart phone wars, Apple is used to courtroom battles with... Read more...
Image
Focus needs to be on fighting crime & helping unemployed
Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Editor, With all of the political situation on the island, we can't lose focus on some of the... Read more...
Image
Had enough
Friday, 16 October 2015
Dear Queenie, My brother died years ago but his widow stayed close to our family. Eventually she... Read more...
Image
RBC St. Maarten Little League School Tournament
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Sister Marie Laurence defeated Leonald Conner in the RBC St. Maarten Little League School... Read more...
Image
Nadal trounces Wawrinka, Djokovic tames Tomic
Friday, 16 October 2015
CHINA-- Former world number one Rafa Nadal displayed more signs of a return to top form with a... Read more...
Image
Junk shop photo spurs quest to confirm Billy the Kid image
Friday, 16 October 2015
DENVER--For the $2 he spent to buy three old photographs, Randy Guijarro may have hit the mother... Read more...
Image
Few signs of improvement for NBA star Odom after collapse
Friday, 16 October 2015
LAS VEGAS--Pro basketball and reality TV star Lamar Odom spent a third day hospitalized on... Read more...
Image
Bruney cruises into retirement
Friday, 16 October 2015
~ After three decade in cruise industry ~   By Alita Singh   Frank Bruney has seen tiny... Read more...
Image
ALL HANDS ON DECK, WE MADE IT!
Friday, 16 October 2015
~ Fair Transport Sailing Vessel Nordlys is launched ~   St. Maarten has been graced by the... Read more...
Editorial - Anybody’s guess
Saturday, 17 October 2015
Governor Eugene Holiday has decided to seek legal clarity on the current constitutional impasse.... Read more...
Editorial - Time is up
Friday, 16 October 2015
With so much ongoing constitutional turmoil, the fact that more than 100 people attended the... Read more...
Image
Saturday Oct. 17, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
Image
Friday Oct. 16, 2015
Friday, 16 October 2015
Notices October 16
Friday, 16 October 2015
General Meeting St. Maarten Professional Softball Association (SMPSA) general meeting for the... Read more...
Notices October 15
Thursday, 15 October 2015
General Meeting S.M.P.S.A. general meeting for the softball season 2016 will be held at Sundial... Read more...