Violence and adolescent mental health in the occupied Palestinian territory: a contextual approach

Asia Pac J Public Health. 2010 Jul;22(3 Suppl):216S-221S. doi: 10.1177/1010539510373028.


During the past decade, the Institute of Community and Public Health at Birzeit University has focused on youth psychosocial mental health research with special attention given to protective factors and forms of resilience adopted by people coping with extraordinary and violent times. The authors take a critical view of the predominantly biomedical interventions adopted by humanitarian aid agencies and question the utility of therapeutic forms of interventions introduced by Western medicine. In a context of collective exposure to violence, individual healing methods based on one-to-one counselling generally have little effect. An alternative approach is proposed that views Palestinian mental health within the historical and political context of loss and injustice, while acknowledging the lack of human security and social justice as a determining factor. In building an argument for the development of psychosocial mental health interventions that are contextually appropriate to the Palestinian situation and collective in nature, the authors present an example of an intervention designed and developed in joint cooperation between a Palestinian academic institution and a Palestinian partner in the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Arabs / psychology*
  • Community Mental Health Services / methods*
  • Community-Institutional Relations
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Psychology, Social
  • Resilience, Psychological
  • Social Justice
  • Violence / psychology*