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:: Article nr. 51769 sent on 05-nov-2009 04:50 ECT
Iraq Solidarity UK: Not ALL War Wounds are Visible!
Iraq Solidarity Campaign UK
An Iraq child cries during a funeral for his family in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 12, 2007. Photo: AP/Hadi Mizban
Feb 13, 2009
Iraq Solidarity UK
As a result of conflict within the Middle East, the people of both Iraq and Palestine are living with the psychological wounds of war, which bare no visible scars and cannot be seen by either aid workers or the international media. These wounds are the direct results of conflict, where in Iraq alone, there are over five million traumatized child orphans as a result of the 2003 invasion and over four million displaced Iraqi citizens, with over 2.5 million of the displaced being children under the age of 12. Children surveyed inside of Iraq have showed that 92% have learning disabilities relating to the Post Traumatic Stress of war.
In the Gaza Strip, it is estimated that the population is around 1.4 million inhabitants, with over half of that number consisting of children and young people. Due to the recent incursions by the Israeli military, mental health workers in the region have called for greater acts of solidarity to assist them in dealing with the fear, displacement and economic hardships which are effecting the people of Gaza. As a result of the constant fighting, the mental health services have become over-stretched in dealing with the growing needs of their patients and each incursion has also resulted with mental health patients being unable to obtain either medication or support services.
The over all effects of War Induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has not yet been made visible for the world to see, but the scars are beginning to show themselves across areas of conflict, with War Induced PTSD expressing itself through acts of behaviour such as domestic violence, drug and substance abuse, self-harming and suicide. It is also showing itself through severe learning disabilities, anxiety, sleeplessness, nightmares and eating disorders. We believe that it is time for the world to wake up and begin taking a pro-active approach to combating PTSD and to show both trauma workers and indeed their patients that they are not alone and with a helping hand, demonstrate that our solidarity is with them.
The War Against Trauma!
Throughout 2009, the Iraq Solidarity Campaign UK is teaming up with several partner organisations to mobilise support across the United Kingdom in the war against trauma. It is our belief that whilst Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) maybe viewed by some as being "a marginal issue", that within the growing internationalised community, coupled with the recent role of the armed forces within the Middle East, that without a proper understanding and continued support for essential Trauma services, if left untreated PTSD could possibly become a global bush fire, with potentially devastating consequences for ourselves and future generations.
The purpose of the campaign is to highlight the issue of PTSD among the general public and engage with them in building bridges of solidarity with those involved in the front line of supporting people effected by PTSD. Our plan is to organise a series of informative meetings, fundraising benefits, lobbies and other events, which are going to be aimed at developing peopleĺs understanding of PTSD but will also provide people with the opportunity to participate on behalf of organisations who are involved with assisting those most directly affected.
After much discussion, the campaign has agreed to adopt three organisations from Iraq, Palestine and Great Britain, who each have a proven track record of providing a life line of support for those whose lives are being effected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The health care services of the Iraqi Red Crescent work to support the provision of essential health services and alleviate the suffering of those people afflicted by health problems or injured by violence. Iraqi Red Crescent branches train volunteers in community based first aid and psychological support in order to enable them to provide emergency assistance to Internally Displaced People and vulnerable local communities across Iraq.
In direct alignment with Al-Awda - the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, the Gaza Community Mental Health Hospital has a proven track record of assisting those within the Palestinian community, whose physical and emotional welfare has suffered as a direct result of displacement, war induced poverty, torture, bereavement and disability.
For over 80 years, Combat Stress is the Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society and has been the only services charity which is specialising in helping those of all ranks from the Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy who are suffering from psychological disabilities as a result of their service. Combat Stress has provided some 75,000 veterans of the two World Wars and the many conflicts since with a unique lifeline and currently, takes about 700 veterans onto its books each year, the youngest being in their early twenties and the oldest in their nineties.
For the Iraq Solidarity Campaign, we are calling upon the bravery of people to help us take the first steps in confronting the unseen wounds of war, which are being left on the minds of our societies. To find out what is going on, to get involved and for more information please contact the Iraq Solidarity Campaign on Iraq_campaign@yahoo.co.uk or by phone on 0788 084 0562.
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