'Breaking Silence on Suicide': A 360 conference on Prevalence, Practice, Prevention and Views forward in Lebanon

11 December, 2021 | NEWS
'Breaking Silence on Suicide': A 360 conference on Prevalence, Practice, Prevention and Views forward in Lebanon
The National Mental Health Programme (NMHP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and Embrace with the support of the Agence Française de Développement: (AFD) and ESA Business School organized a conference on Friday, December 10th, under the theme “Breaking Silence on Suicide: A 360 conference on Prevalence, Practice, Prevention and Views forward in Lebanon”.
Every 40 seconds, we lose a person to suicide globally. These losses are preventable and efforts should be intensified in this direction, as called upon by the World Health organization. In Lebanon, it is estimated that every 2.1 days a person is lost to suicide, noting that suicides are underreported. Today, the economic and political crises the country is going through are putting an additional toll on mental health and can increase suicide risk.
Lebanon is among only 40 countries globally that have adopted and begun implementing National Strategic Objectives for Suicide Prevention as part of the national mental health strategy and is the only country in the MENA region operating a National Lifeline (1564) for Emotional Support and Suicide Prevention.
This conference presented first-time data being published on the efficacy of a hotline in Lebanon and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Region and discussed the achievements and challenges of running a suicide prevention hotline in a country responding to multiple national social, economic, and political crises.
The conference provided an overview of the national situation, what has been done and what needs to be done to prevent suicide.
Dr. Alissar Rady, WHO Technical Team Lead, spoke about the LIVE LIFE guide that WHO launched on implementing suicide prevention activities, using four evidence-based interventions: Restricting access to means of suicide; Working with the media for responsible reporting of suicide; Fostering life skills in adolescents; and the Provision of services to anyone affected by suicidal behaviors. She also stressed the importance of breaking the stigma and discrimination against suicide. She said that it is crucial for people seeking help to be able to communicate with a trusted person without fear of being stigmatized.
Dr. Rabih EL Chammay, the Head of the National Mental Health Programme at the Ministry of Public Health in Lebanon highlighted the fact that the NMHP has been leading efforts with many partners to increase access to quality affordable mental health services, build capacity of health workers on early identification and management of mental disorders and suicide risk, raising awareness on mental health and suicide,  working with the media on reporting and portrayal of mental health and suicide, operating the national hotline for emotional support and suicide prevention in collaboration with Embrace, etc. Much has been done and much still needs to be done : mental health is a basic human right and no effort should be spared to protect it and promote it.
Mia Atoui, co-founder, and President of Embrace highlighted the numerous lessons and experiences accumulated over the years of operation both from an operational and a national level. The National Hotline, which serves thousands of callers each month, is a direct lens into the everyday struggles of persons living in Lebanon, and is an important preventive tool available, forming one piece of the comprehensive mental health system being built in the country to respond to people’s needs.
SHARE ON

RELATED NEWS

  • Why the trauma does not end for Beirut blast survivors
    5 August, 2021 | NEWS
    Why the trauma does not end for Beirut blast survivors
  • Lebanon helpline hit by crises as public mental health deteriorates
    5 August, 2021 | NEWS
    Lebanon helpline hit by crises as public mental health deteriorates
Subscribe to our newsletter below

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay close to conversations that aim to always save lives