Lebanon’s woes—the ravaging economic crisis, COVID-19 running rampant on a global scale, socio-political instability, and crippling corruption, which ultimately lead to the explosion that rocked Beirut and beyond—has left its youth to face a mental-health pandemic, whilst domestic violence complaints have had a 100% increase in the number of cases reported for March 2020, compared to the previous year.
The psychological pressures caused by domestic quarantine, in addition to the current economic pressure, contributed to the increase in abuse: physically, morally, psychologically, economically, and in sexually harmful practices.
This collective trauma led Misspelled WordGhida Misspelled WordAllam (BBA '20) and Luna Misspelled WordBaalbacki (FAS '20, BA ‘20, MSBA '21) to co-found “Lebanon For You” in April, near the beginning of the government-imposed lockdown. It is the first and only Lebanese initiative that provides free weekly mental and physical online health consultations by trained professionals, to help people better themselves.
“Lebanon For You” has thirty licensed psychologists, two psychiatrists, and seven dieticians, all volunteers. So far, 167 people have benefited from free weekly therapy sessions, with over 500 free sessions administered in the past five months.
“Lebanon For You” has been working on unique, one-of-a-kind projects in Lebanon and the wider Middle East, including providing psychological counselling to newly married couples; sharing patients’ stories from anonymous diaries and journals; and collecting donations to cover patients’ medications.
It recently won the Lebanon Response Hackathon for being one of the best civic initiatives addressing key challenges in Lebanon, in partnership with Friedrich Misspelled WordNaumann Misspelled WordStiftung, The Submarine, and Bloom EMEA; the team will be receiving intense training, mentorship support, and financial support ($5,000 cash prize, and actively fundraising for more).
Though the team faces enormous challenges and difficulties, “Lebanon For You” remains fully dedicated to the project. Humanitarian aid in Lebanon may not be an easy job, but it is the most rewarding part of the entire work.