We are mental health workers in the USA who have come together to support the people of Palestine in their struggle to achieve justice. As human beings, we deplore the military, economic, social, and human rights violations imposed on the Palestinian people through the Israeli occupation. Beyond this, as mental health professionals, we identify the occupation as the specific cause of great harm to the well-being and mental health of both the Palestinian and the Israeli public. We believe that the mental health community, both locally and globally, must do more to address the deep links between our professional ethical responsibilities, public health, and human rights.
The USA-Palestine Mental Health Network was founded in 2016 with the support of the UK-Palestine Mental Health Network, in response to the Mental Health Workers’ Pledge for Palestine issued by the UK organization in November 2015 (Mental Health Workers’ Pledge for Palestine).
Members of the USA Steering Committee of the USA-Palestine Mental Health Network:
Elizabeth Berger, MD, Child Psychiatrist, New York
Rebecca Fadil, LCSW, Social Worker, Washington DC
Christine Schmidt, LCSW, Psychoanalyst, New York
The aims of the USA-Palestine Mental Health Network are:
- To contribute to raising the level of understanding and the breadth of discussion regarding Palestine; to articulate concerns with international law, with universal human rights, and with social, political, ideological, military, and public health realities that impact the Palestinian people.
- To link these concerns with the ethical standards of our professions as mental health workers and to bring these concerns to the attention of professional organizations, of health care service providers, and of the public.
- To foster solidarity through personal and professional relationships with our colleagues in Palestine and, while relying upon their leadership, to develop an agenda for constructive change based on their experiences in the Palestinian context.
- As consistent with our individual situations, and to the degree possible for us as individuals, we pledge to consider direct action such as arranging public meetings, embarking on letter-writing campaigns, working with human rights and other organizations, initiating public advocacy programs, and responding to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS).
- To dedicate our expertise as professionals—regarding diverse areas such as trauma, family cohesion, racism, equity in health care, the ideological roots of oppression, the impact of such oppression on all involved parties, and the process of reconciliation between communities—to the service of advancing human rights in Palestine.