Written by

August 24, 2021

Palestine – I Had A Dream Series

A generation of young people are psychologically scarred from the bombings and the blockade. Two out of three adolescents in Gaza suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and some young children cannot sleep due to nightmares. We must invest in and prioritise mental health services for young people.


Anxiety and worries about survival affect many young people in Gaza

Maryam al-Masharawi, 20, Gaza City

Maryam has lived through a painful experience recently; one she will not be able to forget. During the recent bombing of Gaza, she lost one of her closest friends.

The most painful thing is to experience losing someone. This painful experience happened to me in the recent bombing of Gaza. I couldn’t control myself and I had a kind of nervous breakdown for days and I was crying all the time. It’s hard to lose someone close to your heart.

I was afraid of the bombing, but when I saw the picture of my friend and the scene of her death, I couldn’t control myself. I always wondered when the bombing stopped if we would come out alive or dead.

The recent bombing of Gaza was the most violent. Most of the victims were children and the elderly. Fear was something we all felt, and sadness as well.

Most of the places we used to go out to entertain ourselves were damaged, even the towers in which the educational centres used to be were destroyed.  That was where we used to go for our courses and training.

The bombing stopped, but it left deep psychological wounds inside the people of Gaza.

We feel pain and oppression when we find an entire family that died in the bombing, and only a small child remains of them. We keep thinking about how he will continue his life. The loss is very painful for that small child. Perhaps if a person lost their life, it would be easier than losing someone they used to see, like a colleague, a friend, a member of their family.

My mother has a brain tumour. She fainted due to the psychological pressure of the bombing, but it was very difficult to move her and to reach the hospital, for fear that the bombing would take place while she was on her way from one place to another.

It is possible that you can be subjected to more harm when you move, so ill people prefer to stay at home and bear the pain that they go through rather than go out and be exposed to greater danger.

Our doctors in Gaza are working efficiently to provide health care, but in the end, no matter how many medical services we have, it will not be enough. The number of patients is large, especially those with chronic diseases who need to travel to receive medical services that are not available in Gaza.

But we find it very difficult to travel. For example, occasionally, my mother had to travel abroad to receive treatment. Due to the closures at the crossings, she had to try to travel twice, but in the end all her attempts were unsuccessful, and she returned home.

We were very shocked at how she was treated. My mother was in very poor health, and travelling was physically and psychologically tiring for her.

I study mechatronics engineering. I’m one of the distinguished students but I am afraid when I graduate from university, I will not be able to find a job like thousands of other graduates in Gaza.

I know many who graduated from universities and after years of studying hard were not able to get jobs, and this reflected negatively on their lives. You find that the youth in Gaza getting frustrated or feeling forced to travel abroad.

What worries me the most is losing sick family members who cannot have adequate healthcare. Their health will deteriorate, and we will have to experience the bitterness of losing them.

Regarding education, I’m afraid that I will not get any job opportunity after graduation, and my efforts in education and in developing skills will be in vain.

Despite my anxiety and worries I still have a great ambition to be successful and distinguished in my field of study, to graduate, and find a job through which I can make a positive impact on society and be useful to the people around me.


From as little as R500 you can provide first aid psychosocial support for a child.

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