10/09/2014

“Akeed ra7 fee2” national awareness campaign for Suicide Prevention was launched by Embrace Fund and the Department of Psychiatry at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) under the patronage of the Ministry of Public Health and in the presence of his Excellency Minister Wael Abu Faour. A press conference was held at Issam Fares Institute Building at the American University of Beirut, to reveal Lebanon’s first suicide related data.

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects the whole community. In its latest report on suicide prevention, the World Health Organization estimated that 43 deaths by suicide occurred in Lebanon in 2012 (WHO, 2014). However, official records for that same year reveal a serious discrepancy: 107 deaths by suicide were registered. Accordingly, someone dies from suicide in Lebanon every 3 days.

The campaign holding the slogan, “Akid ra7 fee2” (“I will surely wake up”), aimed at encouraging people to wake up early and join the “Into the Dawn” memorial walk for suicide prevention at 5:00 am on September 21st. The campaign also called upon the Lebanese community to pay attention to an alarming fact: Every three days, someone dies from suicide in Lebanon.

The campaign included a series of elements to raise community awareness as a first step towards preventing suicide:
  • A TV spot featuring His Excellency Minister of Health Wael Abu Faour
  • Billboard ads sponsored by PIKASSO
  • “Into the Dawn” memorial walk for suicide prevention

The campaign was covered heavily by major media outlets; over 32 Television and radio appearances, including BBC, Reuters, Al-Jazira, Sky News Arabia, LBCI, and over 15 articles in local and regional newspapers including Annahar, Al-Shark El-Awsat and others.

The most unique feature of the campaign, sponsored by Bank Audi, included embracing the Raouche Rock in Beirut with Embrace’s logo and slogan “Eza fina no7don sakhrit el Raouche, fina no7don 2ay 2insen 7atta ma yente7ir shakes kel 3 iyyem b lebnen” (“If we can embrace the Raouche Rock, we can embrace any person, so that one does not die every 3 days because of suicide in Lebanon).

Why Embrace chose Raouche: After the Cedars and Baalbeck, Raouche rock is the quintessential Lebanese monument. One that has been associated (at least with past generations) with severe mental illness yet no one dares talking about it in the open. Embrace chose to capitalize on this and bring to the open the local crisis of mental illness and suicide. For thousands of years, the rocks stood silent in the face of the hardships that it has been associated with, it is time that Embrace Fund had the rock highlighting a message of hope.

On September 19th Embrace, in collaboration with the Lebanese Rock Climbing Association, began the process of embracing Raouche. A full team of rock climbers mounted Raouche rock for two full days in order to complete this one of a kind mission in preparation for “Into the Dawn” walk.

Embracing Raouche was sponsored by our gracious donors Bank Audi and 53 dots.