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Gazas healthcare workers grapple with the mental health impact of an unyielding war

MSF’s mental health staff in Gaza say they are seeing symptoms in medical staff linked to this level of continuous psychological stress and exhaustion. Staff experience anxiety, insomnia, depression, intrusive thoughts, emotional avoidance and nightmares, all of which can heighten the risk of mental health issues. 

MSF is trying to urgently provide mental health care to medical staff, although a lot remains to be implemented to scale up this support. Davide Musardo, MSF Mental Health Activity Manager in Gaza, says the approach of mental health support for medical professionals is very different than for patients, because they possess more awareness of the impact of their work. 

“For our staff, we provide a different kind of activity, more based on their own experience,” says Musardo. “It is mainly a psychological intervention with the possibility to express to other professionals what they are going through. We try to give them a more specialised service through a lot of psychoeducation.” 

Looming offensive on Rafah adds to stress

An essential element required for psychological support and treatment is safety – and in an environment where not even the caregivers are safe, it is impossible to build resilience and coping mechanisms. No-one and nowhere is safe in Gaza. According to local health authorities, since 7 October, over 34,000 people have been killed, including 499 healthcare workers. Five of our MSF colleagues are amongst them. 

Fonte original msf.org

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