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Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP)
Grassroots International supports the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme as they provide mental health services to Gaza’s traumatized population. They place special emphasis on vulnerable groups such as children, women and victims of torture. GCMHP has carried out extensive therapy, training, and research since their establishment in 1990 in order to respond to mental health needs from the stress of occupation and violence. GCMHP’s crisis intervention works by following up with victims in homes, hospitals, and clinics and is critical to the community. They view their role as the nexus of treating stress management and defending human rights.
GCMHP takes on challenges such as dealing with anxiety disorders like PTSD in an atmosphere where there is no ‘post’ in traumatic stress disorder. With the people of Gaza living under continual trauma, GCMHP’s well-trained staff teaches valuable coping mechanisms. Almost all Gazans experience at least some symptoms of PTSD, which include nightmares, flashbacks, hypertension, avoidance, numbness, constant fear, and panic attacks. GCMHP hopes that by alleviating some of the fear, the Palestinians of Gaza will be able to live healthier lives with lessened anxiety.
GCMHP has evolved into a knowledge-based institution, serving as a knowledge resource for the community as a whole. In addition to providing services, GCMHP is enhancing the community's capacity to deal with mental health problems. The severity of these problems among a population that has witnessed extreme violence over the years has reached an unprecedented level in Gaza—exacerbated by the siege and war. They are committed to ongoing needs assessments with victims in order to most effectively address their needs through visits, support, and documentation.
Now, after decades of service, GCMHP remains the leading organization in Palestine in providing psycho-social programs, adopting a comprehensive, community based approach for working with children, women, and victims of human rights violations.