The Embrace LifeLine is the first National Emotional Support and Suicide Prevention Helpline in Lebanon.
This specialized telephone service includes a network of highly trained operators who provide over the phone emotional support, suicide risk assessment and referrals to community mental health services.
There are currently 60 trained volunteer emotional crisis and suicide prevention helpline operators who come from various backgrounds, ready to take calls. All the volunteers have gone through intensive workshops, trained in active listening skills, suicide risk assessment and crisis intervention.
In response to the growing concern of suicide in Lebanon, coupled with the increasing evidence that supports the establishment of an emotional crisis and suicide prevention helpline as an effective preventative measure for suicide, Embrace set out to develop the Embrace Lifeline. Suicide helplines have been found to significantly reduce suicide rates by 36% to 57%(1).
Implementing an evidence-based framework for prevention and monitoring of suicide, is one of the strategic objectives of the ‘Mental Health and Substance Use-Prevention, Promotion and Treatment-Strategy for Lebanon 2015-2020’, launched by the Ministry of Public Health with the aim of building a sustainable system for mental health in Lebanon. Establishing an emotional crisis and suicide prevention helpline is one of the key components of such a framework and is therefore a substantial step towards achieving this objective of the national strategy, thereby contributing to the building of the national system for mental health.”(2)
- To increase awareness about suicide in Lebanon.
- To ensure the respect and empowerment of individuals suffering from suicidal thoughts, and to provide them with access to appropriate care, while also creating a referral network of community resources for intervention and treatment.
- To support those bereaved from suicide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that for every one death by suicide, there may be more than 20 others who have been attempting suicide.
While these figures may not seem high, they are not representative of the actual suicide rates as prevailing religious, legal, and social issues that surround suicide often result in the mislabeled cause of death as natural, accidental, or undetermined. Furthermore, these numbers do not take into account the number of individuals who experience suicidal ideation. Hence, the rate of suicide in Lebanon is expected to be underreported.
Studies conducted in Lebanon have shown that 16% of students aged 12 to 14 had seriously considered committing suicide in the year prior to the study making it the highest percentage compared to other Arab countries; while 13.5% of the students reported having actually attempted suicide in the previous year(3).
With the availability and access to appropriate services, the rate of suicide, and suicidal attempts can be reduced.