February 26, 2024

The writer of this article has always had a keen interest in student mental health, starting from their career as a teacher and now as the head of pedagogy at World ORT Kadima Mada in Israel. They have faced significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Gaza, leading to widespread trauma-related issues among students.

The war on October 7 shattered the nation’s sense of security, and children have been deeply affected by the unspoken messages of fear and anxiety from their parents. Exposure to graphic content on social media has further exacerbated the trauma, emphasizing the need for parents and educators to shield children from triggering images.

At Kfar Silver, a youth village near the Gaza border, more than 50 students were directly affected by the war, with many experiencing loss or witnessing horrific scenes. The staff has been providing mental health “first aid” to ensure that no child is left behind.

As the conflict continues, efforts are being made to reintegrate students into regular routines and provide them with therapeutic workshops to process their experiences. Displaced youths have displayed at-risk behaviors, highlighting the importance of addressing long-term mental health issues.

The writer emphasizes the need for both students and staff to avail themselves of mental health services and plans to integrate emotional and mental health content into the curriculum. Despite the ongoing challenges, they remain optimistic about the students’ resilience and their ability to overcome trauma.

The impact of the war and its ripple effects will continue to be felt, but the writer believes in fostering a sense of belonging and unity among students as a source of strength.