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Addressing the psychological impact on schoolchildren amid war: counseling is crucial

Counseling must be delivered to ensure that kids do not become desensitized to violence.

Counseling must be delivered to ensure that kids do not become desensitized to violence.

In the midst of the Israel-Gaza conflict, experts and school leaders have recognized the need to provide counseling and support to schoolchildren to mitigate potential trauma resulting from exposure to violent images and videos. 

This article explores the importance of this approach and the steps taken in schools in the UAE to offer the necessary support.

Recognizing Trauma Potential: The Impact of Exposure to Conflict

Understanding the emotional and psychological impact of exposure to conflict is the first step in addressing the well-being of schoolchildren. 

Even if not directly involved, children can be deeply affected by violent images and news, leading to lasting emotional distress.

Counseling Services as Early Intervention: Providing a Safe Space

Offering professional counseling services is a proactive and essential step in helping schoolchildren process their emotions, fears, and anxieties related to the conflict. 

Counselors provide a safe environment for children to express themselves and receive guidance on coping strategies.

Preventing Long-Term Psychological Effects: Timely Support is Key

The goal of counseling and support is to prevent the development of long-term psychological issues stemming from exposure to trauma. Early intervention can significantly reduce the potential for lasting emotional distress and mental health challenges.

Fostering Open Communication: Schools and Homes as Supportive Environments

Open communication is critical in schools and at home. Educators and parents should encourage children to discuss their feelings and fears. Creating a supportive environment for open dialogue is paramount.

Wellness Programs for Emotional Resilience: Strengthening Mental Health

Schools can implement wellness programs that focus on mental health and resilience. These programs may include activities to help children build emotional strength and better cope with stress.

Cultural and Contextual Sensitivity: Tailored Support in the UAE

It’s crucial to consider cultural and contextual factors when providing support. In the UAE, schools are taking specific measures to address the needs of their students in the context of the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Expert Collaboration: Guidance for Effective Support Strategies

Collaboration between schools, mental health experts, and parents is essential. Mental health professionals can offer valuable insights into the most effective strategies for addressing the emotional needs of students.

Normalizing Mental Health Support: Reducing Stigma

Introducing counseling services within the school environment helps normalize seeking help for mental health issues, reducing the stigma associated with mental health support.

Holistic Support: Addressing Emotional, Social, and Educational Needs

Support for children exposed to traumatic events may require a holistic approach that considers their emotional, social, and educational needs. Counseling is just one element of a broader strategy aimed at creating a supportive network for affected students.

Continuous Monitoring and Adaptation: Meeting 

Changing Needs

It’s vital to continually monitor the emotional well-being of students and adapt support measures as needed to address their changing needs and concerns.

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