A delegation from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited Gaza Community Mental Health Program today to cooperate in formulating a mechanism to establish a screening and referral system for people in need of psychiatric interventions in prisons.
At the outset of the session, Dr. Yasser Abu Jamei, Director General of the Programme, gave a summary of the work of the programme and its activities, responding to questions raised by the delegation about the training and scientific research department in the programme and its purpose.
“The idea behind the Training and Scientific Research Department is to provide specialized training to specialists dealing with cases requiring advanced interventions. There are six Ministry of Health centers providing psychiatric services, and three centers for Gaza Community Mental Health Programme.”, Dr Abu Jamie said
The delegation also inquired about the work of the programme and its interventions with detainees in prisons and the number of visits carried out by specialists of the programme. Dr. Akram Nafi, a psychiatrist at the Gaza Community Center of the program, said that the programme visits weekly Beit Lahia Prison, Jabalia Prison and Khan Younis Prison.
Ms. Rawia Hamam, Director of Training and Scientific Research Department, explained that the programme provides training and educational sessions in the field of human rights and mental health for prison staff, in order to help them support the inmates and also preserve their dignity by knowing their rights.
Dr. Nafi said that a large percentage of the inmates suffer from anxiety and psychological crisis, but they deny this and prefer to take tranquilizers to help them deal with their condition.
“Some police officers sometimes believe that inmates with psychological problems are acting, but we have the ability to identify people with mental disorders in prisons, but this requires more work in prisons and more human resources,” he said.
After learning about the work of the programme and its community services, especially the services in the prisons, the delegation of the Cross proposed to cooperate with GCMHP in formulating a screening and referral form for the prison inmates in order to provide them with psychological support.
In conclusion, GCMHP thanked the delegation of the Red Cross for their visit and welcomed their cooperation in providing mental health and human rights in the Palestinian society.