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Difficult Living Situation Pushes Lebanese to Suicide

At the beginning of March and in light of the deteriorating financial and living crisis, 5 Lebanese ended their lives in just one week, a strange phenomenon in Lebanese society.

The suicide choice was not very common in Lebanon, at least before the start of the Lebanese crisis in late 2019.

However, because of the tragic living and financial troubles in Lebanon, and the complete lack of solutions and hope, suicide has become a more regular occurrence, which led to a significant increase in suicide rates.

In this context, the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar reported that 83 suicide cases happened during the first seven months of 2022.

"The varying numbers and statistics from the official authorities indicate an alarming increase in suicide rates, and the economic factor is at the forefront of the incentives affecting the mental health of the Lebanese." An-Nahar continued.

Moreover, The Lebanon-based news channel Al Mayadeen said 11 people suicided in Lebanon in January 2023. It headlined the news with "Lebanese are not well" based on negative suicide case statistics, and reports of non-governmental organizations following up on Lebanese psychological status.

In this regard, Joel Jaber, supervisor of the "Life Line" program at the Embrace Association, told Al Mayadeen "We currently receive about 1,000 calls a month. The age group most seeking assistance is 18-35, which means the youth.

“This group lives under pressure due to difficult financial conditions, especially since they are at the age of shouldering responsibility.” Jaber explained.

There has been widespread talk of suicide among the Lebanese in the past few days after the Lebanese citizen Musa al-Shami committed suicide and the spread of a voice message recommending a friend to take care of his family.

On Wednesday, March 1, al-Shami's voice became everywhere on Lebanese and Arab social media.

In a sad and intermittent voice, Al-Shami asked his friend "Alloush" to take care of his family, especially his daughter "Jouri", telling him that he could no longer bear the deteriorating living conditions.

"I did not find anyone other than you to write to, you are the one I know the most who has a "strong heart" and knows how to behave, I am now in front of the building and I am going to commit suicide, calm down and take care of yourself, "Duaa, Jawad, and Jouri" (his family). They are your responsibility now," al-Shami told his friend before ending his life.

He also confirmed in the message that he couldn't bear it anymore and "could not secure the sustenance of his children." He asked everyone to forgive him, and not to speak ill of him.

The Lebanese National News Agency NNA confirmed on Thursday, 2 March, that the corpse of al-shami -  born in 1991 in Jarjoua town - was found shot near his house in Deir Al-Zahrani.

Some officials and activists commented on the painful incident, and a debate raged among the Lebanese about the legality of suicide.

Independent MP Melhem Khalaf tweeted "The voice Musa al-Shami gnaws at the consciences and shakes the thrones of these murderous tyrant rulers! Where will you flee from the intensity of anger in the face of an entire people crying out for oppression?"

A few days later, after other Lebanese committed suicide, Melhem added "Hussein Marwa, Musa al-Shami, and Ali Abu Hamdan, three victims of suicide in one week.

They are the victims of all those who do not fulfill their constitutional duty and delay the election of the head of state to launch the rescue train! We, the representatives of the nation, alone bear the responsibility for this disdain. Let's stop killing people!"


The Lebanese Crisis

Since 2019, the collapse in Lebanon has never stopped, and it has occurred on several levels: financial, economic, political, social, and even security.

In financial speak, the Lebanese national currency has lost more than 98 percent of its value over the last three years of the economic crisis, according to L'Orient Today.

On February 16, The Lebanese pound fell to a historic record low of 80,000 against the dollar, according to the Lira Rate website, which led people to burn several Banks, including 6 in Beirut.

Before 2019, the Lebanese Lira was "a stable national currency along with a thriving banking sector." Lira Rate platform said. However, in July 2019, "the Lira gradually began to rise and reached 2,000. Then it kept increasing to 2,200 and 2,500 to 3,000 and then to 3,800, in April 2020." Nowadays, it exceeds 80,000.

Therefore, this large and rapid financial collapse led to an increase in the poverty rate and the inability of many Lebanese families to secure basic needs.

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, about 1.98 million Lebanese residents and Syrian refugees corresponding to 37 percent of the analyzed population, are in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) between September and December 2022.

"The analysis projected that, between January and April 2023, about 2.26 million people, corresponding to 42 percent of the analyzed population are expected to face high levels of food insecurity IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) or above, impacted by a further deterioration of the economic situation and depreciation of the Lebanese Pound (LBP), protracted inflation, and soaring international prices." the report continued.

There is no doubt that this crisis has negatively affected the physical and psychological health of the Lebanese.

The annual World Happiness Report for 2022, issued under the supervision of the United Nations, ranked Lebanon 145th, second-lowest among 146 countries in the ranking of happiness for three years (2019-2021).

In addition, the results of surveys by "Gallup" showed that the Lebanese are among the 10 most stressed and sad people, where 145 other countries participated.

The Gallup Global Emotions 2020 report indicated that 48% of Lebanese respondents said they were exposed to "stress, anger, sadness, anxiety, and psychological pain."

"The country's Negative Experience Index score rose from 30 in 2018 to 48 in 2019 as political and economic turmoil gripped Lebanon" the report stated.

So, it was very natural to expect a rise in the suicide rate in Lebanese society, with one person committing suicide every two days, according to what was confirmed by Reef Romanos, the specialist and psychotherapist at Embrace, pointing out in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the numbers in Lebanon are less than the reality; “Because the subject of suicide is still taboo, not all suicide cases that occurred are announced.”

To sum up, as the Lebanese financial crisis started in 2019, the suicide rate has increased in Lebanon due to living difficulties, which many people couldn't handle.

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Tags: #suicide #Lebanon #Lebanesecrisis


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