Doctor who fled war and set up Wakefield mental health service is honoured

Dr Kraam at his home in Menston.Dr Kraam at his home in Menston.
Dr Kraam at his home in Menston.
A child psychiatrist who fled war-torn Afghanistan as a teenager and went on to create a mental health service for vulnerable youngsters in Wakefield has been honoured with a national award.

Abdullah Kraam, now of Menston, is to be given a British Citizen Award (BCA) for his services to healthcare.

The BCAs began in 2015 to recognise people who make a positive impact on society.

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Dr Kraam, 53, set up the forensic child and adolescent mental health (FCAMH) service – based at Fieldhead Hospital in Wakefield but from later this year helping people across Yorkshire – in 2010.

It works with children and young people caught up in the in the criminal justice system.

Some of the people “forensic” mental health services deal with are those who may pose a risk to themselves or others because of their issues.

The Soviet–Afghan War began in 1979, and Dr Kraam fled from Kabul to Germany the year after when he was around 16 and the only German speaking member of his family.

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He is now an EU citizen with a dual Afghan/German citizenship.

He moved to England in 1999 and became a consultant at the children and family unit at St James’s Hospital in 2004 before leaving to start FCAMH.

Dr Kraam said: “This award has a very special and personal meaning for me as a refugee from Afghanistan who was brought up in Germany and is living in England.

“The award says to me: ‘Thank you for your work. You and your family are more than welcome to stay in this country’.​

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“And this is a message we have been longing for. I feel truly honoured and humbled but also proud. I feel appreciated and acknowledged for who I am and the work I have done.”

The Soviet–Afghan War lasted from December 1979 to February 1989.

He is one of 36 medallists who will be honoured at the Palace of Westminster on January 25.

The YEP this week launched its We Love Our NHS campaign, which aims to praise Leeds’ National Health Service staff for their vital work.

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As part of our campaign, we want you to help us show support our dedicated and hard-working NHS staff in Leeds.

To nominate your NHS hero for praise, tell us by sending an email to [email protected]