Advocacy

Support Groups

Support groups are a place for people who share a common problem to meet regularly in order to discuss their experiences and exchange emotional support.

Embrace is working on organizing a support group which will be led by a psychologist and a member who has had training in facilitating group discussions. Everything that takes place within the support group remains confidential.

Support groups are not a substitute for individual professional counseling or for group therapy which is led by a professional therapist. Nevertheless, they can be a helpful coping tool to complement formal treatment.

The biggest benefit of support groups is helping individuals suffering from mental illnesses to realize they are not alone in their problem, which can be a source of relief.  Being with others who are facing a similar type of situation can help you open up and discuss your feelings.

Into The Dawn

The “Into the Dawn” suicide memorial walk is an advocacy initiative launched by Embrace in March 2014. It intends to provide a community support environment for those who have been affected by suicide. During the walk, we remember those we have lost to suicide and acknowledge the pain for those left behind. A memorial wall is placed at the end point of the walk on a yearly basis, with photos, keepsakes, and/or names of those we have lost to suicide. The first walk took place on September 21st 2014, when over 150 people showed up.

Surviving a suicide loss

The shock, excruciating grief and complex emotions that accompany the loss of a loved one to suicide alters us immeasurably. Suicide loss has long-lasting ramifications. It can be very difficult to deal with the aftermath of a suicide and it is only made more difficult by the stigma associated with a suicide death. By joining “Into the Dawn” walk you are reaching out and providing comfort and support to each other.  The taboo subject of suicide must be brought out into the dawn and into the light of public discussion so we can all learn to heal.

Walk to save lives

Suicide is a public health problem that takes an enormous toll on family, friends, co-workers, and the whole community. After years of hard work and preparations, Embrace has established Embrace Life Line – the first ever National Suicide Prevention Helpline in Lebanon to help those who are in crisis. By walking at Into the Dawn, you are raising awareness about suicide and helping to provide the needed resources to prevent suicide.

Walk to raise funds

Embrace funds awareness, outreach, education and research programs aimed at improving our understanding of suicide and ways to prevent it. Embrace will provide educational programs to increase awareness about suicide prevention, warning signs and the psychiatric illnesses that can lead to suicide.

All funding raised from the walk will go to:

  • Sustaining the Embrace LifeLine
  • Funding scientific research
  • Promoting policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention
  • Providing programs & resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk
  • Strengthening the Lebanese public’s knowledge about mental illness and suicide prevention
  • Offering educational programs for professionals

How to sponsor our walk

Become a sponsor of our “Into the Dawn” memorial walk for suicide prevention by contacting info@embracefund.org

Sponsors are needed to help fund the:

  • Memorial Wall
  • Candles
  • Breakfast refreshments & coffee
  • Posters
  • Bracelets
  • Embrace LifeLine 

Into the Dawn Walk is generously sponsored by:

How to donate to Embrace

When you walk into the dawn, you join the effort to raise funds and awareness for Embrace’s vision to create a Lebanon without suicide.

To donate go to: Become a Donor 

Policies & Change

Towards parity in mental health insurance coverage

Out-of-Pocket payments are the most inequitable way to finance health care, especially mental health. Yet, it remains one of the main mental health financing methods in Lebanon. In addition to fear of stigma, individuals with mental disorders commonly suffer from unemployment and poverty. Therefore, OOP payments can be more of a severe obstacle for them than it is for physically ill patients. It is imperative to find more equitable ways of financing mental health that will decrease the OOP share.

As a joint effort among the Department of Psychiatry at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS), Lebanese Psychological Association (LPA) and Issam Fares Institute (IFI), a national roundtable discussion was held on April 22nd, 2013 under the title “Parity in Mental Health Financing for Lebanon”.

This event set the stage for a policymaking initiative that aims at establishing more equitable mental health coverage in Lebanon. The roundtable discussion aimed at: 1) exploring how mental health is currently financed, 2) identifying options for achieving parity, and 3) prioritizing the proposed options for future implementation. It grouped key stakeholders from different domains: governmental agencies, professional associations representing providers and insurers, experts in health care finance, NGOs, ethicists and lawyers along with consumer and advocacy groups.
Two discussion sessions tackled: 1) the question of how to improve the current public financing schemes and eliminate the present disparities in coverage, and 2) how to partner with the private insurance sector to achieve more comprehensive mental health coverage. The priorities arrived at during the discussion will inform future steps of this initiative which will be followed up on by Embrace and the Department of Psychiatry at AUBMC.

Find out more here: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/25543116 

Reference:
Yehia, F., Nahas, Z., & Saleh, S. (2014). A roadmap to parity in mental health financing: the case of Lebanon. The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, 17(3), 131-141.

Mental health and primary care

In April 2014, the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health launched the National Mental Health Program. The pillars of the program are:

  • Pillar 1: Integration of Mental Health services within Primary Health Care
  • Pillar 2: Community mobilization
  • Pillar 3: Access to advanced care
  • Pillar 4: Rights of the vulnerable groups

One main priority for the first 2 years of the program is the integration of mental health into primary care, linkage with the secondary level and referral to tertiary care. To support this priority, Embrace participated in a national policy dialogue organized by the Knowledge-to-Policy (K2P) Center entitled “Securing access to quality mental health services in primary health care in Lebanon.” Through its participation in the dialogue, Embrace represented the patient and patient advocate’s voices. Many of the deliberations that took place during the dialogue will inform the work of the National Mental Health Program.

References:
Ministry of Public Health (2014). National Mental Health Program Newsletter. (2nd issue). Beirut: Lebanon.
Yehia, F., El-Jardali, F. K2P Dialogue Summary: Securing Access to Quality Mental Health Services in Primary Health Care in Lebanon. Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center, Beirut, Lebanon, May 2014.

Retrieved from: http://www.aub.edu.lb/k2p/products/Pages/dialoguesummary.aspx 

Mental health Act

In 2013, the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with the National Committee for Ethics and the Institute for Development Research Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC) have drafted a mental health law for the protection of persons with mental illnesses. This law tackles several aspects such as:

  • The right for care in the least constrictive manner
  • The right for community care
  • The right for protection from abuse
  • The right for protection by the judicial system when involuntary admissions to psychiatric wards or hospitals.

The draft law was discussed in a public debate organized by The Legal Agenda on September 23rd, 2014 and attended by mental health specialists, activists, NGOs, universities, and civil society representatives including Embrace. Several amendments were proposed to ensure an up-to-date mental health law in line with human rights and relevant international conventions. A final draft with all the suggestions by stakeholders incorporated will be given to the Ministry of Public Health who will in turn submit it to the Parliament as soon as possible.

Find out more here: http://english.legalagenda.com
Reference:
Ministry of Public Health (2014). National Mental Health Program Newsletter. (2nd issue). Beirut: Lebanon.

Patient Advocacy

Among its initiatives to advocate for patients with mental health problems, and allow patient’s perspectives and voices to be heard, Embrace collaborated with writer Ziad Kaj, author of the book “Sahlab”, to launch his Arabic book in which he outlines his journey and personal struggles with bipolar disorder. Sahlab is on sale at Embrace offices as well as other bookstores in Beirut.

Embrace is proud to have collaborated with Ziad Kaj as an initiative that is part of Embrace’s commitment to support individuals to share their stories and break the silence around mental health issues.

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