Anera Distributes Critical Medicines to Help Treat Mental Health Disorders
The Palestinian Ministry of Health estimates the incidence rate of mental health disorders in the West Bank is nearly 20 cases per 100,000. Last year alone 85,858 West Bank residents visited mental health clinics. The most common ailments were schizophrenia (28,584 patients) and epilepsy (11,559 patients). Continuing political turbulence exacerbates the situation and medications used to treat mental health disorders are in short supply.
Ghodfan Alalami, a psychiatrist at the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC) in Ramallah, says the medications supplied by Anera through Airlink are critical for treating patients. Most patients suffering from mental illness cannot afford the medications. Without a consistent supply of their medications, patients could relapse and suffer even more.
Kamli says her three children all have suffered from mental health disorders and are being treated at the TRC. Ruba, her eldest daughter, is 36 years old and suffers from severe symptoms of psychosis and paranoia. She is grateful for the medications provided by Anera, “My symptoms have eased and I no longer experience hallucinations. I sleep well and have a better appetite.”
She says before receiving the medication she was antisocial but now she engages in social interactions and feels better about life.
Kamli’s second daughter, 31-year-old Rasha, suffers from psychotic episodes. Kamli often finds her unconscious or wandering around outside by herself.
“My symptoms have eased and I no longer experience hallucinations."
Her 25-year-old son Tharwat suffers from post traumatic stress disorder following his imprisonment in Israeli prison. He was a victim of torture, which has negatively impacted his mental health.
Kamli says the treatment her children now receive has been life changing. She underscores how much the treatment also helps ease her own fears and worries about their well-being.
“My children’s conditions forced my whole family into isolation. Before their treatment, I couldn’t open my home to visitors or participate in social outings because of the unforeseen behavior of my children. It affected my mental well being and my husband's too.”
Alalami stressed a key to treatment is the consistent provision of appropriate medications that are free of charge for patients who cannot afford to purchase them.
“Our family is poor,” says Kamli. “We don’t have a steady source of income since my husband suffered a work injury and cannot work. I can’t work because I have to take care of my family. I don’t know what would have become of us without the free medication.”
Anera is collaborating with International Health Partners to support mental health services in marginalized communities. The program will ensure a constant supply of mental health and nervous system medications for vulnerable communities in Palestine and Lebanon.