The rate of suicide amongst the youth in Lebanon is rising at an alarming rate according to health professions. As many as one suicide attempts are being reported every six hours, revealing the extent of mental depression within the country.
Last week more than four cases of suicide were reported in several Lebanese areas, Asharq Al-Awsat reported. Official data shows that the number of suicides reached 100 by May. At the current rate, these numbers will exceed figures from previous years, which were 143 last year, 128 in 2016 and 138 in 2015.
A hotline for those suffering from depression has been set up by Mia Atwi, a psychologist and co-founder of the Embrace Association for Mental Health Awareness. She told Asharq Al-Awsat that from September to February the association received 200 calls from people reporting possible cases of suicide attempts, while between February and May there were about 400 calls.
On the other hand, Dr. Elie Karam, director of the Idraac Association (Centre for Research and Development of Applied Therapy) underlined the need to wait until the end of the year to see if the suicide rates should be a cause for national alarm.
“If the situation continues as it is, it means that at the end of 2018 the number of suicides may reach 250, and then we can talk about an increase in this phenomenon,” he told the paper.
Growing causes of suicide in Lebanon reflect a trend that is similar to other countries in the region. Suicide rates in the Gaza Strip, for example have gone up by 35-40 per cent. Health officials reported as many as 300 suicides in the past two years.
While Lebanon is not tormented by an Israeli led blockade, the country’s prospect has been made bleak by an on going refugee crises; first, waves of Palestinians fleeing from the Israeli military and a second, a further 1.1 million Syrians who now make up 25 per cent of the country’s population.
Note: A previous headline read “Lebanon witnessing 6 suicide attempts per hour” was incorrect and was changed at 15:26 GMT on the day of publication.