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Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj

Pioneer in Mental Health

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Date of Birth:



Beersheba, Mandatory Palestine

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Founding father of mental health services in Gaza.

Brief bio

Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj was a prominent Palestinian psychiatrist, recognized for his groundbreaking work in mental health within conflict zones, particularly in the Gaza Strip. As the founder of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP), he dedicated his career to addressing the psychological effects of occupation and conflict on Palestinians, advocating for the rights of detainees, and promoting peace through understanding mental health. Dr. El-Sarraj's contributions extended beyond clinical practice to include human rights advocacy, earning him international recognition for his compassionate and holistic approach to mental health and conflict resolution.

Major Milestones


  • Education and Training: El-Sarraj obtained his medical degree and specialized in psychiatry, laying the groundwork for his future contributions to mental health (specific universities and dates to be researched).

  • Establishment of GCMHP: In 1990, he founded the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, the first and largest mental health service provider in Gaza, addressing the urgent need for mental health care amidst ongoing conflict...See More

  • International Recognition: El-Sarraj received numerous awards for his work, including the Physicians for Human Rights Award and the Olof Palme Prize, acknowledging his efforts in promoting human rights and peace.

  • Advocacy and Human Rights Work: Throughout his career, El-Sarraj was actively involved in human rights advocacy, particularly concerning the treatment of detainees and the psychological impact of occupation...See More

  • Academic Contributions: El-Sarraj contributed significantly to the academic field through publications and lectures that shared his insights on mental health in conflict zones, influencing both clinical practice and policy.

  • Pioneering Mental Health Services: Dr. El-Sarraj's establishment of GCMHP revolutionized mental health care in Gaza, offering services that catered to the specific needs of communities affected by conflict.

  • Advancement in Conflict Psychology: Through his work, El-Sarraj advanced the understanding of the psychological effects of occupation and warfare, highlighting the need for mental health interventions in conflict and post-conflict settings.

  • Human Rights Advocacy: He was a vocal advocate for the psychological well-being of prisoners and detainees, drawing attention to the impacts of torture and solitary confinement...See More

  • International Collaboration and Awareness: El-Sarraj engaged in international collaborations that brought global attention to the mental health challenges in Palestine, fostering international dialogue and support...See More

  • Mentorship and Education: He mentored countless mental health professionals and advocates, expanding the capacity for compassionate mental health care and advocacy in Palestine and beyond...See More

Date of Last Update: 
April 6, 2024

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