Islamic Relief is supporting families in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to improve their mental health.
“After my divorce, my four children and I moved in with my parents,” says Sana, who lives in Al Bureij refugee camp in Gaza. “We faced several difficulties, which affected our personalities and the way we dealt with each other.
“I suffered from severe psychological stress as I was responsible for four children, which was very difficult when I had no financial assistance. I usually felt very angry and nervous which negatively affected my relationships with my children.”
For nine years she and her family lived in tension. But then they accepted help from Islamic Relief.
“When the psychologist first called me to tell me that they would like to visit us at home to do [counselling] sessions, I wasn’t sure about talking to strangers at first. This would be my first time discussing my life with outsiders and receiving support.
“When the first session ended, I felt very comfortable. My children also loved it and asked to continue the sessions. Our life started to improve from then on. Islamic Relief managed to bring us together and helped us spend time together.
“I then started to integrate my older siblings in the sessions, since we all live in one house. Islamic Relief was the catalyst that helped our family come together and heal. Islamic Relief helped us restore ties that were severed over the years. It spread an atmosphere of love and understanding between my family members. I’m really proud of what we have achieved; we became a united family.”
Learning positive coping strategies
In addition to the family counselling sessions, Sana, her son Hamza and her older sister Raja participated in individual counselling sessions which have empowered them to better cope with stress.