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Dr Abdullah Kraam Appointed New Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Research Lead

Dr Abdullah Kraam Appointed New Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Research Lead

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Abdullah Kraam, new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) research lead for the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network Yorkshire and Humber, is set to play a key role in managing, promoting and co-ordinating mental health research across a huge chunk of north England.

Since being appointed to his first consultant’s post in Leeds in 2004, Dr Kraam, 56, has worked with hundreds of young people with mental health problems and frankly admits that a bout of depression last year has helped him better understand what they are going through.

He said: “I couldn’t work for three months and life was really difficult. But the experience has had a profound effect on me and somehow allowed me to really connect with the patients and families I work with. Mental health issues can affect anyone and none of us should be frightened to talk about them or ask for help when we need it.

“Child psychiatry is a fascinating area of medicine to work in and a great privilege for me to meet and help children, young people and their families through challenging times. Research has been an important part of my career, so I am looking forward to helping increase our mental health knowledge base for the benefit of people living in Yorkshire and Humber.”

Alistair Hall, from the NIHR Clinical Research Network Yorkshire and Humber, said "We welcome Dr Kraam into the leadership team knowing that the expertise, passion and empathy that characterise him and his career will be a very great asset to us and to the broad community that we serve."

Dr Kraam will combine his new research role with his current post as Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist with Doncaster CAMHS, run by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH). Medical Director Dr Nav Ahluwalia said: “Research is key to improving the mental health services the NHS provides and, as an expert in his field, Dr Kraam will undoubtedly make a massive contribution.”

Dr Kraam is no stranger to trauma himself. As a 16-year-old in 1979, he and his family fled their home in war-torn Afghanistan for a new life in Germany, before moving to England.

He said: “We went to Germany because I spoke the language. I learned it earlier when my father, a diplomat, was posted there. Returning as refugees was like starting life from scratch again.

“Similarly, I anticipate the current Coronavirus pandemic having a traumatic effect on many children and young people who feel trapped and isolated, with their mental health deteriorating, particularly those from vulnerable backgrounds. But we will have to wait to see what the evidence reveals in the months and years ahead.”

In 2018, Dr Kraam collected a British Citizens Award for his services to healthcare. The award recognises people who have made a positive impact on society.

Dr Kraam is Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds and away from work enjoys yoga and literature. A book of his poetry, written in German, was published several years ago.