Suicide in Lebanon : Understanding the Factors

By Darine Ammache, Clinical Psychologist


Suicide attempts are increasing amongst young people in Lebanon due to several important factors which may include the following:

1.Socioeconomic Factors: Due to Lebanon’s recent political and economic crises, which have resulted in high unemployment rates, widespread poverty, and absence of essential services, the country is currently experiencing a severe socioeconomic crisis. Young people are becoming more susceptible to mental health problems and suicidal thoughts due to these conditions, which in turn, can heighten feelings of hopelessness and despair.

2. Trauma and collective memory: Lebanon’s history of conflict and violence may have impacted its collective psyche. Young people may have been passed down trauma from their parents or anyone close to them. Moreover, the country’s current strives can also be an additional factor aggravating mental health problems.

3. Earthquakes and natural disasters: Natural catastrophes such as earthquakes can have a significant negative impact on mental health due to the stress and anxiety they cause. These events can result in feelings of insecurity and instability, which may support suicidal inclinations.

4. Limited mental health resources: It could be challenging for people dealing with mental health issues to get the assistance and treatment they want in Lebanon due to a lack of easily available and reasonably priced mental health care. This lack of resources may make people feel even more dismal and helpless, which may increase the likelihood of suicide.

5. Stigma surrounding mental health: Cultural aspects and societal perceptions of mental health conditions may contribute to the rise in suicide attempts among young people in Lebanon.The stigma associated with mental illness can instigate reluctance to seek help and cause them to feel ashamed and alone.

6. Migration of peers: For individuals who stay in Lebanon, the absence of friends and family members due to emigration can cause feelings of loneliness and seclusion.

Young people could experience social isolation and a sense of separation from close people who have relocated to other nations as a result of the loss of their social support systems.

This may aggravate pre-existing mental health conditions and increase suicide thoughts.

7. Instability on multiple levels: In addition to the economical and political instability, young people in Lebanon may also be dealing with instability in their personal life, such as disturbances in their families, problems in their relationships, or difficulties in their educational pursuits.

Insecurity and overload may result, exacerbating mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.

8. The impact of traumatic events on mental health: Recent reports of a young girl who had fallen into a coma as a result of stress bring to light the serious effects that Lebanon’s continuous crises can have on mental health.

Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are just a few of the mental health problems that traumatic experiences and ongoing stress can cause (PTSD).

In turn, these issues may raise the possibility of suicidal thoughts and actions.

In order to better address these factors and support the overall mental well-being of young people in Lebanon, it is imperative to set up a treatment framework that is both comprehensive and multi-faceted. This may include:

1.Strengthening social support networks: Promote community-based programs that foster social integration and assist young people who might feel alone as a result of their loved ones’ relocation.

2.Providing mental health education: Educate young people, their families, and educators about mental health issues, such as the warning signals of suicide. This may lessen the stigma,promote early assistance, and support individuals who require it.

3.Enhancing access to mental health services: Make sure that everyone, regardless of socioeconomic level, has access to inexpensive and effective mental health care. This could entail investing in telemental health services, hiring more mental health specialists, or incorporating mental health services into primary care settings.

4.Developing resilience-building programs: Implement initiatives that support young people in gaining resilience and coping mechanisms. This might entail increasing emotional intelligence, providing stress management strategies, and encouraging positive interpersonal interactions and communication abilities.

5.Addressing the root causes of instability: Interventions in mental health are crucial, but it’s also critical to address the larger socioeconomic and political problems that fuel the instability that young people in Lebanon are experiencing. This could involve making steps to boost economic growth, lower unemployment, and guarantee access to essential services like healthcare and education.

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