You are here
In Gaza, UNRWA Makes Mental Health and Well-Being A Global Priority for Its Teaching Staff
“We all experience personal challenges or issues in our lives which we deal with by talking to friends or family or handling them by ourselves. However, sometimes, when issues are too much for us to manage on our own, we need to seek support and consultations from a professional such as a counsellor or a supervisor.”
Maysoun Shaltout is an UNRWA Community Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist in the Gaza Strip and knows what she is talking about. Fifteen years of blockade and ever-repeating cycles of violence and destruction have left their mark on the coastal enclaveand its inhabitants. In this environment, UNRWA aims to provide a sense of security and psychological stability, including among its staff, and particularly those responsible for the mental well-being of others, such as supervisors and counselors.
“In UNRWA, we work with our counselors whenever intervention is needed. I am very proud of the work we do since mental health problems can become physical problems and illness if they are not addressed properly. This applies to the Gaza context, where Palestine refugees have experienced a series of crises, the most harmful of which are the recurrent military escalations. On this World Mental Health Day, I urge all our staff to never make mental health dispensable,” says Maysoun.
UNRWA is constantly working on enhancing the mental health and well-being of its staff, helping them to build interpersonal skills like open communication and active listening and fostering better understanding of how job stressors can be managed.
As part of an Agency-wide approach to promote the mental well-being of staff, UNRWA also raises staff awareness of mental health and tries to reduce any stigma against mental health conditions at work. It builds skills to manage stress and reduce mental health symptoms. Initiatives include psychosocial interventions and opportunities for leisure-based physical activity, for example.
Najah Abu Radi is a school counselor who has been working at UNRWA Nuseirat Preparatory Girls School “A” for 17 years. She says, “I provide counselling services to students, teachers, parents and members of the local community to overcome obstacles and personal challenges that they are facing and empower them to accomplish mental health and well-being, education, and career goals. As counselors, we seek the consultations from our area supervisor through regular meetings. My message on the World Mental Health Day is that everyone should be aware that mental health needs attention and that mental health and well-being is a global priority for all.”
- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Where We Work
- Donor resource
- Frequently asked questions
- unrwa approach to curriculum