Analysis of the mental health response to COVID-19 and human rights concerns in the occupied Palestinian territories
International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare
Article publication date: 22 March 2021
Issue publication date: 22 July 2021
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has devastating effects around the world, influencing daily life and putting communities into unprecedented situations of anxiety, hardship and loss. It has a particularly severe effect on the mental health of individuals and highlights pre-existing challenges in mental health provision in different countries. The purpose of this paper is to examine the mental health response to COVID-19 in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) in relation to mental health concerns and the political situation.
This study analyzes the double struggle of Palestinians not only dealing with COVID-19 but with the ongoing Israeli occupation and human rights violations and focuses on the challenges in providing mental health services due to existing inequalities, systemic discrimination and lack of resources as a result of the political system of oppression. The findings are based on previously published articles concerning mental health related to the COVID-19 outbreak in other countries, as well as the authors’ clinical experience in the oPt and direct involvement in providing mental health services.
The paper highlights how the current pandemic is being used to further attempts of annexation and political gains in Israel and how it exacerbated human rights violations due to the occupation. Emphasis is also put on the challenges in providing a Palestinian mental health response due to the high number of actors involved and the lack of preparedness at the level of mental health response provision.
The value of the works lies in putting the current pandemic in relation to human rights violations in the oPt due to the ongoing Israeli occupation and in highlighting how a mental health response to COVID-19 can be implemented during a state of emergency and despite a lack of preparedness in response services in the oPt.
Helbich, M. and Jabr, S. (2021), "Analysis of the mental health response to COVID-19 and human rights concerns in the occupied Palestinian territories", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 255-269. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHRH-06-2020-0039
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