Leading psychiatrist receives national honour

Date: 09 January 2018

A consultant child psychiatrist who fled war-torn Kabul as a teenager and went on to develop one of the UK’s largest services for vulnerable youngsters with mental health problems has been recognised with a national honour.

Abdullah Kraam, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and clinical lead for CAMHS and forensic CAMHS, has been given a British Citizen Award for his services to healthcare.

The British Citizen Awards (BCAs) were launched in January 2015, to recognise exceptional individuals who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society. BCAs are awarded twice annually, and recognise ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked.

Abdullah, 53, single-handedly began setting up the forensic child and adolescent mental health service (FCAMHS) in Wakefield which provides forensic mental health services for children and young people in the criminal justice system. Abdullah created and built this now highly successful and award-winning service with a commitment to providing the highest quality of care to some of the most vulnerable young people in the community.

Abdullah is an EU citizen with a dual Afghan/German citizenship. His family fled to Germany from war-torn Kabul when he was a teenager. As the oldest of three children and the only German speak-ing member of his family, Abdullah supported his mother and siblings in securing work, education and accommodation.

Abdullah, is one of 36 medallists who will be honoured at a prestigious ceremony on 25 January at the Palace of Westminster. All BCA recipients have selflessly undertaken various activities in support of a number of worthy causes. Each will receive a Medal of Honour, inscribed with the words ‘For the Good of the Country’. Medallists are also invited to use the initials BCA after their name.

Speaking about his nomination, Abdullah 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.’ 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. So I want to thank Stacey Phillips and Dr Booya for nominating me and all colleagues who supported the nomination.”

Abdullah was nominated for a BCA by his colleague Stacey Phillips who said: “Abdullah’s contribution to healthcare is truly exceptional, he has dedicated his life for the past seven years to growing and embedding this highly successful service because he cares genuinely and passionately about the young people he works with.

“Abdullah deserves formal recognition of the sacrifices he has made at a personal and professional level to build a service that impacts the very vulnerable in the community for which it serves. It is also meaningful in a most positive way to see him receive this accolade, not just for his success as a medic and leader, but also as a non UK citizen who has made the provision of the very highest quality care to some of the most vulnerable and needy within the British population.”