Embrace is a non-profit organization (NGO) which works to raise awareness around mental health in Lebanon and the Middle East. Embrace launched as an affiliation with the Department of Psychiatry at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) back in 2013. As of August 2017, Embrace became an official registered NGO in Lebanon. It is a one of a kind charitable and fundraising initiative for mental illnesses. Embrace seeks to inform and support people who need help by dispelling the myths and misinformation that surround mental illness. Embrace provides information about the resources available to people who live in Lebanon. Embrace also raises money to help provide needed treatment and care for people who cannot afford it. In September 2017, Embrace launched the first national suicide prevention helpline in Lebanon.
One in 4 Lebanese will suffer from a mental illness sometime during his or her lifetime. If left untreated mental illness can result in serious disabilities and even death. However, due to the stigma and social taboos surrounding the subject of mental health many people who need treatment will not seek it. Negative attitudes, negative opinions, and misinformation keep people from seeking the help they need to live healthy and productive lives. Embrace is working to provide information, community awareness, and support to break down the stigma of mental illness in Lebanon.
The cost of proper treatment for psychiatric or psychological care can be expensive and overwhelming. Part of Embrace's mission is to raise money to fund patient care. In its first 3 years of operation, Embrace raised funds amounting to $32,000. and covering the treatment of 32 individuals, who were in need of inpatient psychiatric care, but could not afford it.
Stigma and the financial cost of treating mental illness should never be a barrier to seeking help. Embrace grew out of the need to fight these challenges in order to raise awareness about mental illness and facilitate access to treatment.