Master’s Degree in Community Mental Health

The Palestinian community is living under difficult social and political conditions. Violence, poverty, and hopelessness have reached crisis proportions according to national and international research (1, 2 & 3). The high prevalence of mental health problems among Palestinian children and adults, as a direct and indirect result of the Israeli Occupation, has been well documented (3, 4 & 5). In addition, Palestinians experience considerable ongoing stress due to the rapid rate of change in the Palestinian society. Unfortunately, sufficient resources have not been channeled to address the mental health needs of the Palestinian population.

Attempts by the Palestinian National Authority and NGOs to respond to local mental health needs are constantly challenged by the shortage of qualified professionals in the mental health field. Further more, most of the mental health professionals were trained overseas, reinforcing the need for an endogenous program, since it is widely recognized that good mental health care needs to be both culturally specific and community based. Locally trained professionals are best able to transcend the cultural barriers that predispose Palestinians to look for quick remedies like medications. Hence the Masters Program in Community Mental Health is designed to respond to the urgent need for locally-trained, highly qualified mental health professionals.

Al-Quds University is committed to the process of institutional building in both physical and mental health. To that end, the university established the only Faculty of Medicine in Palestine, and later, the first School of Public Health. We believe that mental health is critical to a healthy society. We advocate that mental health becomes an integral part of the primary health care delivery. The Master’s Program in Community Mental Health is a significant step towards meeting the challenges of health care in Palestine. Therefore, training qualified personnel is an essential step toward answering this urgent need.

The Master Program in Community mental health was established in 1999 at the School of Public Health. It is accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education. There are two mental health branches, one is a generic community mental health program and the second is public health masters with a track in Community Mental Health. This revised curriculum applies only to the generic Masters Program in Community Mental Health.