But what remains more immediate for many Gazans is dealing with the unspoken internal damage – the effect on the population's mental health. Estimates from several organizations hold that between 30 and 40 percent of the Gaza population is suffering from signs of PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A study by the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme in June found that two-thirds of Gaza's children have exhibited abnormal levels of anxiety, and 61.5 percent of Gaza's parents reported the emergence of unusual behaviors among their children.
Ms. Hamam considers herself one of the fortunate ones, in that she's recently been trained in the use of new tools to help others she works with professionally – as well as her own children. Last week, she completed a second, advanced training program in Gaza that is part of the Healing the Wounds of War (HWW) program, launched by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, based in Washington.
Using alternative, nonmedical techniques to discharge pent-up stress and trauma, the center has, for more than a decade, been bringing its work to global war zones and disaster areas. Its postwar program began in Kosovo, where its work helped reduce children's diagnosed levels of PTSD symptoms from 88 percent to 38 percent, founder Jim Gordon says.