The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health LebMASH participated in the awareness campaign launched by Embrace Fund on suicide in Lebanon, which took place on September 13th, 2015 in Rawsheh, Beirut.
Women and men (and all others on the gender spectrum) from all backgrounds and of all ages gathered at 5am at Beit el Ward. Among those present were people who have lost a loved one to suicide, others struggling themselves with mental health issues and suicidal ideation, suicide survivors and supporters of this cause.
Silently at the break of dawn, with candles in hand, everybody walked towards the Rawsheh rock a very common “suicide” spot in Lebanon.
Once there, mental health professionals gave their informative speeches whilst suicide survivors shared moving and inspirational testimonials.
The project of launching a suicide hotline was announced. Such an urgent and essential project requires everybody’s donations in order for it to become a reality. Check out their Zoomaal campaign. Did you know that “Every 3 days, someone commits suicide in Lebanon”?! ( Embrace Life NGO,
2014) Very sad and shocking fact!
Did you also know that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are four times
more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers? (CDC 2011) This is often linked to:
(i) experiences of homophobic victimization (e.g. bullying, verbal and/or physical abuse) as well as
(ii) a high level of rejection by loved ones and especially family members.
These factors are further aggravated in Lebanon due to a culture built on religious beliefs and
intolerance making it very hard for the LGBT population to live safely within their environment
and at peace with themselves.
Raising awareness is always the first step towards change, which is among LebMASH’s main
objectives. “Never sacrifice who you are because someone has a problem with it” was our slogan during #embracelife’s “Into the dawn suicide memorial walk”. By breaking the silence, we are closer to
creating a safe and tolerant environment for all individuals battling with the taboos of mental
health problems and suicide, where they can successfully overcome their difficulties.
Written by LebMASH Executive Board Member Vanessa Van Vliet