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“A child Witnessed Several Shocking and Devastating Events that Left Obvious Effects on the Child’s Mental Health”

Witnessed Several Shocking and Devastating Events that Left Obvious Effects on the Child’s Mental Health. A child


On Sunday, 29 Jan.2015, accompanied by her mother, the child came to Khan-Younis Community Center, and he/she was in a terrible psychological condition. 


Due to the recent war on the Gaza Strip and as the child lives in the bordering area, she witnessed several shocking and devastating events that left obvious effects on the child’s Mental Health. The child was mostly affected when she directly saw her neighbor’s vehicle bombarded and his body’s shreds scattered. The mother said’’ she started crying hysterically and hitting her head against the wall unconsciously saying repeatedly’’ his body was turned into parts’’     


After this incident occurred, the mother began to notice abnormal behavioral and psychological symptoms on her child such as: hysterical screaming, recalling the scene of the scattered shreds all the time, lack of sleeping, poor appetite, inability to speak with people, and isolating herself from the others.


Almost one month after the war ended, particularly at the first day of Eid al-Adha, the child was playing with her cousin in the street and suddenly a speeding car passed the street and ran over her cousin, who immediately died in front of her sight.  


The mother said that after witnessing the run-over accident and death, her child started screaming very loudly and hitting her head against the wall; no one could stop the child from doing so as she lost her control entirely.


The child returned to the house, slept the whole day, and did not wake up until the next day. The child woke up bed- witted, and this is the first that she regressed to bedwetting.


The mother said that her child kept asking about her cousin ’’ did he feel the pain… will he go to paradise or hell…. why did not I die instead of him’’. The child continued asking many other disturbing questions. 


The next day, a policeman came to the house to take the child to the police center to investigate with her about the incident to know if the dead child or the driver was the reason behind the incident/accident.

Accompanied by her brother, the child went to the investigation center where she was put in a small cell. Her brother discovered that the cell is designated for torturing purposes after he had heard the screaming of his sister. Her brother rushed to the cell and found hir sister’s head hit against the wall and she bed-witted as she witnessed three naked hanged men being beaten with whips.


Gaza Community Mental Health Programme organized complete long-term therapeutic plan, almost 8 sessions. The the child was positively affected by these sessions. She started expressing her feelings, fears, and the consequent traumas she had seen/witnessed within a very short time. With the support of her family, mother, and the psychologists working at GCMHP, inside and outside the clinic, the child returned normal, she  practiced her daily life routine, study, play with her friends and got engaged with the others. Using psychological debriefing through speaking and drawing, the child improved significantly in terms of bed-witting and nightmares.  


The mother said that her daughter completely improved and returned normal, comfortably, and freely practiced her daily life. According to this, follow- up sessions were scheduled to the child to check her condition and ensure that she is psychologically progressing.