Celebrating the successful implementation of a First-Ever Stress Management Initiative in Lebanon

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On the afternoon of February 29, 2024, at Citea Apart Hotel, IDRAAC and the National Mental Health Program came together to commemorate the conclusion of a project that has been implemented for the first time in Lebanon after being adapted to the Lebanese dialect ensuring a wider reach. In collaboration with the National Mental Health Programme, the Self Help Plus (SH+) project is implemented by IDRAAC as part of the "Support for the Social Recovery of Vulnerable Groups in Beirut" project in coordination with the International Rescue Committee, with financing from the Lebanon Financing Facility administered by the World Bank. Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the "Supported Self-Help Plus" (SH+) initiative was launched to provide stress management training and mental health support to Lebanese communities. The event was enhanced by esteemed guests, including Dr. Elie Karam, the President and founder of IDRAAC, Dr. Georges Karam, the Executive Director of IDRAAC, Zeina Zouein, the Deputy Director of the International Rescue Committee, and Perrine Posbic Aoun, the Operations Manager at the National Mental Health Program. Dr. Kenneth Carswell, Technical Officer with the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use in Geneva also joined the event online. 


The SH+ project aimed to address the mental health needs of Lebanese citizens amid the challenges of modern life. In his speech, Dr. Georges Karam emphasized the importance of self-care in a fast-paced world, highlighting that mental health is a fundamental human right. He emphasized that the SH+ program, which had been implemented in Lebanon for the first time, was a significant milestone in promoting mental well-being within the community. 


Mrs. Zouein, representing the International Rescue Committee, expressed her pride in the successful collaboration between the IRC, the National Mental Health Program, and IDRAAC. She noted that the project had equipped 479 individuals across Lebanon with the necessary skills to manage stress effectively. Mrs. Zouein highlighted the importance of addressing psychological distress and preventing the onset of mental health disorders, especially in the face of daily adversities. 


Perrine Posbic Aoun, speaking on behalf of the National Mental Health Program, celebrated the achievement of the SH+ training, which was developed in partnership with IDRAAC. She emphasized that the program's simplicity and effectiveness made it adaptable and well-suited for use alongside other mental health interventions. Moreover, she announced the transformation of SH+ into a podcast, extending mental health support to a wider audience. 


In addition to speeches, Dr. Kenneth Carswell provided a welcome message from the World Health Organization, and Bedros Kazazian delivered details about the SH+ program. The event also featured success stories from two trainees, who received certificates for their achievements. 


The closing event of the SH+ project in Lebanon was a testament to the collective efforts of IDRAAC, the National Mental Health Program, the International Rescue Committee, and the World Health Organization with financing from the Lebanon Financing Facility administered by the World Bank. It underscored the importance of mental health as a universal right and highlighted the commitment to providing accessible and effective mental health support to communities across Lebanon. 

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