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Americares Awards Emergency Funding for Mental Health Support in Gaza

  • June 27, 2024

Grants to help increase access to critically needed mental health care for the most vulnerable survivors, including children who are victims of torture and/or politically motivated violence 

Stamford, Conn.June 27, 2024 – Americares has awarded emergency funding to increase access to mental health and psychosocial support for over 8,000 people affected by the mounting humanitarian crisis in Gaza.   

Grants ranging from $20,000 to $40,000 were awarded to five nonprofit organizations supporting the mental health needs of the most vulnerable survivors, including children and their families, adults and frontline responders who have experienced immense loss and trauma since the hostilities escalated in October. Tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured in the conflict, including multiple generations of family members, leaving survivors without a support system. The Associated Press has identified at least 60 Palestinian families that lost a minimum of 25 family members each during the first three months.

Prolonged exposure to violence, displacement and trauma not only harms physical health but also inflicts profound damage on mental well-being. Prior to this latest escalation in violence, a study conducted by the World Bank in November 2022 found that 71 percent of people in Gaza were already struggling with depression—a staggering statistic that has been exacerbated by the ongoing hostilities. Currently, children are among the most affected populations, with more than 1 million in need of mental health and psychosocial support. 

“The violence and atrocities that everyone in Gaza is being forced to endure, especially children, is absolutely heartbreaking,” said Americares Deputy Senior Vice President of Emergency Programs Provash Budden. “The longer this war continues, the more severe and widespread the mental health impacts will be on the people of Gaza, affecting generations to come. Right now, immediate and sustained mental health support is needed to mitigate the long-term consequences of this crisis. Our support will help children and adults receive essential mental health services to process trauma and support their recovery.” 

The grants include: 

  • $20,000 to the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture to provide four group therapy sessions for 100 children who are primary or secondary victims of torture, and/or politically motivated violence. The grant will also allow the organization to provide mental health care, including psychological first aid, for 200 people in Gaza. Given the immense need for mental health and psychosocial support among displaced populations, the funds will also be used to provide 200 remote counseling sessions for displaced children and adults in Gaza who cannot easily access in-person mental health and psychosocial support. Lastly, the grant will also support the implementation of a well-being program for 25 staff members to ensure they can manage their own stress and trauma while carrying out their work;
  • $20,000 to Nafs for Empowerment to implement mental health and psychosocial programming in Gaza for three months, including support groups for approximately 240 children living in shelters in Rafah. The funds will also be used to carry out activities four times per month that create an atmosphere of safety and joy in shelters and surrounding tent communities for an additional 2,000 displaced individuals from northern and central Gaza. The grant will also allow Nafs for Empowerment to create a referral pathway for children and adults in need of additional support – and provide specialized psychological services to children, teenagers, their families and caregivers. The organization will also be implementing activities that raise awareness around mental health topics for three groups of women whose children will be receiving mental health support;
  • $40,000 to the International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation to offset the cost of hiring three psychologists, three sociologists and one speech therapist who will conduct an estimated 140 psychological first aid group sessions for people living in shelters in central and southern Gaza. The funds will also be used to establish and facilitate peer support groups that will equip participants with the necessary tools to be able to support themselves, their families and the people within their community. In total, more than 1,600 people are expected to benefit;
  • $40,000 to MedGlobal to train 130 frontline responders, health care workers, community leaders and volunteers in Gaza and Rafah on how to reduce their own stress and teach others the same strategies. At the same time, the funds will be used to support 10 mobile clinics and community-based centers to provide counseling, therapy and psychiatric care virtually – and to organize educational sessions that raise awareness around mental health topics for an estimated 2,400 participants. The grant will also help offset the cost of staff salaries;
  • And $40,000 to the International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA) to increase access to mental health support for approximately 1,500 children for six months, as well as to implement programming that will provide mental health counseling for children, including families of medical evacuees from Gaza now residing in Egypt.

These grants are in addition to funding Americares provided to Anera and INARA last year to support the mental health of people in Gaza after the hostilities escalated. The funding to Anera allowed the organization to provide one year of mental health support for 35 Anera staff members in Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon. Americares funding to INARA helped to increase access to medical care and mental health support for families with children in Gaza and Egypt. 

“This generous donation from Americares will help to improve the daily life of survivors in Gaza as well as strengthen their resilience by reinforcing the availability, accessibility and quality of mental health services,” said Mohamed Ouahi, International Blue Crescent Middle East and North Africa programs manager. 

Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization, is prioritizing the most urgent medical needs of civilians caught in the crossfire. The organization is working with partner organizations with staff on the ground in Gaza to increase access to medicine, medical supplies and mental health support for frontline health care providers and survivors. Since October, Americares has delivered 19 tons of essential medicine and medical supplies to Gaza, including enough medicine to fill more than 200,000 prescriptions. Americares also provided support to meet the needs of those displaced or injured in Israel, including mental health support, essential humanitarian aid supplies and medical equipment. 

Americares responds to approximately 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year and has professional relief workers ready to respond to disasters at a moment’s notice. The organization stocks emergency medicine and supplies in warehouses in the United States, Europe and India that can be delivered quickly in times of crisis.  

Since its founding more than 40 years ago, Americares has provided more than $22 billion in aid to 164 countries, including the United States.