Dr Yasser Abu Jamei

Neuro-psychiatrist working in Gaza

Dr Yasser Abu-Jamei is a Palestinian clinical neuro-psychiatrist living in Gaza who trained in 2012 in Birmingham. He is director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, a leading mental health provider in Palestine. Gaza has over 1 million refugees whose land was stolen in the creation of the state of Israel.

The Programme uses a bio-psycho-social model of care, recognition of the context of oppression and recurring bombardment, which are constant aspects of care. A child of 16 has lived through three bombardments, in 2004, 2012 and 2014, in all 80 days of bombing with no place to hide, and recurring incidents since, giving little time for the natural processes to heal. After the attack in 2014, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that at least 373,000 children require direct and specialized psychosocial support. Children are showing symptoms of increasing distress, including bed wetting, clinging to parents and nightmares. Patients have to deal with the trauma of previous exposure on top of PTSD. Dr Abu-Jamei himself lost 27 members of his family in one bombing that year.

We were very forunate to have Dr Jamei speak at our AGM on 7th February 2021. A recording of Dr Jamei’s talk and follow up discussion can be found here.

The Gaza Community Mental Health Programme

The service intervenes to strengthen the community, provide family support, non-specialist mental health counselling and specialist psychiatry with the aims to integrate public health and human rights approaches to mental health.

Dr Abu-Jamei is a member of the Task Force which developed the National Mental Health Strategy 2015-2019 in Palestine. His Interests include Capacity building programmes, neuropsychiatry, and advocacy and lobbying activities. He is certified as a Trainer of Trainers in the field of supervision and care for caregivers from the Free University of Berlin.

A brief video of the programme can be found here.

You can see an interview with Dr Abu-Jamei on HARDTalk here

Paul O’Brien