Exposed to war, Yemenis experience mental disorders
During the war, Hassan’s father was killed in a mortar attack by the Yemeni military, and his house was destroyed. Nashwan Oqba, Hassan’s brother-in-law, said Hassan’s psychological breakdown occurred when he lost his father and his house.
Hassan has eight children, the eldest of which is 11 years old, and an elderly, widowed mother.
To date, the state hasn’t compensated him. He received 150,000 riyals from the Sa’da Reconstruction Fund.
“After his house was destroyed, he decided to move to Al-Malaheedh area in Sa’da,” Oqba said. “He received food aid from the World Food Program. But the program stopped providing aid; therefore, he decided to go back with his wife to their destroyed house. So far, they live in a bad situation, and Hassan’s health is deteriorating day by day.”
Oqba said Hassan traveled from Sa’da to Sana’a to receive treatment at theSocial Center for Displaced People, a center related to the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Yemen. But Hussein Radman, the center director, said the center stopped activities.
Hassan said his father’s name wasn’t included on the lists of people killed in Sa’da. In order to receive a monthly payment, his father’s name needed to be on the list. Hassan said nobody helps him receive treatment or food for his family.
A few weeks ago, Houthis imprisoned Hassan, Oqba said, because he isn’t affiliated with them and because he suffers a psychological disorder. He was eventually released.
Fatima, Hassan’s sister, said, “Hassan’s situation is very bad. Sometimes, his children sleep without dinner because they don’t have a breadwinner. They depend on some people to give them food.”
Dr. Fatin Abdo Mohammed, a professor of psychology at Sana’a University, said, “There are several negative effects on those who live in war areas. War affects their relations with other people and causes them sadness and distress.
“War has great effects on children because it causes them stress that affects their future life. War means killing and shedding blood,” she said.
A 2008 study by SEYAJ Organization for Childhood Protection found that 45.5 percent of children in Sa’da experience fear because of war and armed confrontations in their schools and villages. In addition, 63.1 percent experience nightmares. And, 21.6 percent experience bedwetting when sleeping while 7 percent experience bedwetting when awake.
The study reported 21.5 percent of Sa’da children are introverted, a high percentage compared to children not exposed to sensitive environments. The study also found that 35.3 percent of children became aggressive toward companions and relatives.
The League of Arab States warned last month that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is deteriorating because of a worsening food shortage, which is attributed to worsening psychological health.
The situation in Yemen continues deteriorating because of security dangers and the negative effects of armed conflicts, Sima Bahooth, general secretary assistant of social affairs of the League of Arab States’ “Cooperation and Communication to Save Yemen,” said.