GMHF Statement: World Refugee Day 20 June

The Gaza Mental Health Foundation acknowledges June 20, World Refugee Day, at a time in history when at least 70.8 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes, 1% of the world’s population. Of these, nearly 25.9 million are refugees, over half under the age of 18. 20.4 million people from countries like Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar,  Iraq, and Yemen, are under UNHCR’s mandate.  5.6 million Palestinians  are under UNRWA’s mandate along with over three million more who are internally displaced. These bare numbers do not express the levels of human trauma, loss, depression, anxiety, and despair that characterize these populations.

With our focus on mental health, we note the ample evidence that the attainment of human rights is essential to mental health, that the grinding impact of poverty, malnutrition, polluted water, and inadequate health care and housing, the repeated experience of wars and military assaults, the crushing effect of displacement and restriction, have an extremely negative bearing on all measures of psychological as well as physical, economic, and political health.  We renew our commitment to exposing the realities for refugees and supporting the determined and unwavering efforts of clinicians on the ground in the Gaza Strip, where 70 percent of the residents are refugees.