Yasmeen Jabari, an MSF medical translator, hugs Raghda, a former patient at MSF’s mental health clinic Hebron. MSF provides mental health services to men, women and children with moderate or severe psychological issues and psychiatric disorders in the West Bank and Gaza. MSF’s services include a response to mental health issues which are a specific result of violence in the West Bank.
Raghda received treatment from MSF after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. In 2013, soon after her house in H2 – an area of Hebron city under Israeli military control – had been completed, she received a demolition order from the Israeli army for alleged illegal construction. She appealed but the order remains suspended. One year later, her son was arrested and spent two weeks in jail after being involved in a scuffle with a teenage settler. Raghda says they were unable to visit their son while he was locked up. Eventually, she recalls, the boy was released after being given bail and being warned not to go near settlers or the military. Throughout his adolescence, Raghda tried to keep her son off the streets to protect him. In 2019, Raghda realised she needed help.
“Every mother in Palestine lives in difficult conditions and we have become strong, but sometimes you reach the limit and you need help,” she says. “Our mental health is the foundation for us to continue to be strong for those around us.”