Abila, Lebanon

In crisis-hit Lebanon, hospitals struggle to operate amid hyperinflation, and the devastating electricity, fuel and drug shortages. To add to the challenges, many of the hardest hit are also seeing serious threats to their ability to obtain food and water. Recently, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, released a statement saying that there is “no country in a crisis like Lebanon.” The local population has been submerged in one crisis after another, subjecting people to prolonged stress and threatening their mental health. 

We’re supporting our in-country partner Anera in delivering much-needed support in this area through the ongoing donation of mental health medication. A recent shipment of 6,033 treatments of mental health medicine was distributed to 13 different health facilities across the country. 

Abila, 53, is a patient at the Makhzoumi Foundation Health Center, a Beirut-area nonprofit healthcare provider.  “The combined trauma from the Beirut blast, the coronavirus pandemic, and the currency crisis have brought new complications and serious mental disturbances,” she said. 

 

“After my father passed away suddenly, I was overwhelmed with sadness and burdened by responsibilities. I tried to commit suicide,” Abila says. “I was diagnosed with depression, and started medication immediately. I can finally say I’ve become stable and happy with my treatment. I’m afraid I may have to stop at some point, though, because of the severe shortages in the country.” 

 

Abila says “I struggled to find my medications. I’d go to countless pharmacies, but with no luck.” Fortunately, she found the Makhzoumi Foundation, which, she says, “has kindly provided me [with this medicine free of charge]. What a relief!” 

Suicide has long been considered as a non-issue in Lebanon, widely ignored by the general public and the authorities alike and mental health disorders frequently go untreated. Change is slow but recently mental health has begun to become a more accepted topic for discussion. In the last five years, organisations have been established to provide suicide-related awareness, prevention and support. 

Lebanon loses one person to suicide every two days. Behind one out of every four doors in Lebanon, someone is suffering from depression or another mental health disorder. 

 

“I want to shed light on the importance of therapy, which is a huge taboo in our society,” Abila says. “The only thing keeping me from undergoing therapy is its high cost.” 

 

“As much as I dislike relying on drugs for treatment, I know that I need to continue it to attend to my mental health, as well as my severe insomnia,” she says. “The treatment has truly helped me stabilize and showed me the importance of mental health treatment.” 

Please donate today to help us continue to support people struggling with mental health issues.

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