Embrace is a non-profit organization (NGO) which works to raise awareness around mental health in Lebanon. Embrace launched as an affiliation with the Department of Psychiatry at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) back in 2013. As of 2017, Embrace branched out as an independent Lebanese non-governmental organisation (NGO), not affiliated with any institution. Embrace seeks to better inform the community about mental illness, break the stigma, provide support to those affected, and help foster a resilient and emotionally healthy community which cares for the mental wellbeing of its young and old.
Since its birth in 2013, Embrace has worked on several national awareness campaigns, community outreach efforts and patient advocacy through financial support and project development. One of Embrace’s cofounders Michella Nahas lost her brother to suicide many years ago. Back then, there were no organizations to support her and her family who many years later continue to be affected by this tragic loss.
Embrace’s largest accomplishment to date is the Embrace Lifeline (1564) – the national emotional support and suicide prevention helpline in Lebanon. One in 4 Lebanese will suffer from a mental illness sometime during his or her lifetime. If left untreated mental illness can result in serious disabilities and even death. However, due to the stigma and social taboos surrounding the subject of mental health many people who need treatment will not seek it. Negative attitudes, negative opinions, and misinformation keep people from seeking the help they need to live healthy and productive lives. Embrace is working to provide information, community awareness, and support to break down the stigma of mental illness in Lebanon.
Stigma and the financial cost of treating mental illness should never be a barrier to seeking help. Embrace grew out of the need to fight these challenges in order to raise awareness about mental illness and facilitate access to treatment.
Embrace aspires to be the leading mental health organization in Lebanon and the region through mental health awareness and advocacy.
To ensure people with mental illness are respected, empowered, and able to access appropriate care without the constraints of lack of knowledge, shame or limited resources through positive representation, supportive community programs, alliances with policymakers and financial assistance.
Awareness campaigns, “Into the Dawn” annual suicide memorial walk, financial assistance, support groups, outreach activities, Embrace Art Exhibition, Annual Hike, Awareness in schools and municipalities
National Suicide Prevention Helpline, Awareness Campaigns, “Into the Dawn” annual suicide memorial walk, financial assistance, support groups, outreach activities, social enterprise
Lobbying for financial parity, working with universities, corporations and in the workplace
Media advisory services, patient advocacy, close collaboration with the Ministry of Public health and other local organizations