Children’s Mental Health is Paramount Amidst Israel-Gaza Humanitarian Crisis
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is deeply attuned to the myriad of emotions, including sadness, heartache, and anger, triggered by the ongoing violence and trauma in Israel, Gaza, and the Middle East. We condemn all acts of violence, hate, and actions leading to the human suffering of innocent lives. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the Israeli and Palestinian children, families, and communities directly and indirectly affected by these evolving tragic events and their ripple effects globally.
We recognize the strong emotions that these recent events evoke and the humanitarian crisis it represents. As we communicate about these matters, we prioritize inclusivity within our membership. At the heart of AACAP's mission is the unwavering commitment to advocate for and protect all children and adolescents’ mental health and well-being. Offering support and resources to children and their families is, and always will be, our priority.
We remain deeply committed to the well-being of all children, particularly those directly and indirectly impacted by this unrest. Beyond direct exposure, some children and adolescents may encounter distressing imagery related to these events in the media. Such exposure can significantly affect their mental health and well-being.
These resources are designed to offer guidance and support for children, adolescents, and families:
- Prepare in advance by developing coping, resilience, and self-care skills. This includes techniques such as deep breathing and promptly moving away from disturbing content and/or transitioning to other activities.
- Be mindful of your exposure to disturbing content. Please pause and reconsider its impact on you. Take a moment to breathe and reflect. Such images can trigger past traumas and can affect your well-being, sleep, appetite, and sense of safety.
- Be careful of exposure to social media platforms as they might not always be helpful for your well-being. Protect yourself and children from unsolicited or excessive exposure.
- Maintain routine and regular schedules for eating, sleeping, exercising, school, and work.
- Engage with your trusted family and community. Some aid organizations offer empowering actions you can undertake, especially supporting those most impacted by these tragedies in different ways.
- Parent and caregivers’ well-being is important to their children and adolescents’ ability to cope during these difficult times. It is vital for parents and caregivers to seek support or counseling when needed and practice the recommendations that they are giving to their children and adolescents.
- If you or someone you know feels overwhelmed, it is crucial to reach out for support. Turning to trusted friends, families, colleagues, or professionals can assist during these challenging times.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) is a national professional medical association dedicated to promoting the healthy development of children, adolescents, and families. With a membership of over 10,000 professionals, AACAP provides valuable resources, expertise, and advocacy to advance the field of child and adolescent psychiatry and improve mental health care for young people. For more information, please visit www.aacap.org