Lebanon's financial collapse has spurred a mental health crisis, as people live with daily triggers for significant emotional distress. Many people in Lebanon have lost their life savings as a result of inflation; job losses are in the hundreds of thousands; nearly 75% of the population now live in poverty.
In June, the World Bank said that Lebanon's economic and financial crisis is likely to rank in the top 10, possibly top 3, most severe crises episodes globally since the mid-nineteenth century.
Worries over job losses and inability to buy basic goods such as petrol, bread and water have added to the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic, and the enormous explosion that rocked Beirut on August 4 2020. That horrific incident, which I experienced myself, left more than 200 people dead and thousands more mentally and physically scarred.
To make matters worse, medications such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety prescriptions are unavailable, as the country is suffering from major shortages of many types of medicines. This means that people on medication for mental health issues have had to suddenly stop or ration their medication intakes - actions that can further worsen people's suffering. Others cannot afford talking therapies, or find ways to access suitable professionals, as many healthcare professionals have left the country as the multiple crises have worsened.
I am running the Istanbul marathon - 42km - on November 7 to raise money for Embrace, a non-governmental organisation that focuses on mental health issues in Lebanon. It runs the country's only suicide prevention hotline; the number of people phoning in has more than doubled since last year, according to a recent Agence France Presse report.
A free therapy clinic run by Embrace is fully booked until October, with more than 100 people on the waiting list, the same report said.
Your kind donations will go directly towards helping Embrace meet the enormous mental health needs of people in Lebanon.
All donations will be transferred to Embrace ; all costs associated with the run in Istanbul, such as transport and accommodation, are my own expenses.
Thank you so much in advance for all your support and kind donations.