The Middle East Medical Assembly (MEMA 2018) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) holds its first conference on mental health in Beirut, April 20, 2018. (The Daily Star/AUB, HO)
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Although awareness of mental health issues is increasing, there is still a long way to go in lowering stigma and providing comprehensive care in Lebanon, experts say.During the event, titled "Mental Health Across the Lifespan," international experts discussed positive steps and areas ripe for improvement, particularly for vulnerable groups, such as children, women, refugees and members of the LGBTQ community. Dr. John Pachankis, associate professor of public health at Yale University explained in his presentation that the stigma associated with mental health particularly affects members of minority and vulnerable groups.One social worker noted the struggles that children dealing with mental health issues face.In Lebanon, this year's MEMA conference came just before the fourth anniversary of the establishment of the National Mental Health Program, which was launched in May 2014 by the Health Ministry with the support of the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the International Medical Corps.To make affordable, quality mental health care more accessible, the ministry is working now on the integration of mental health into primary care," Nik said.She said that over 75 primary health care centers have been trained on mental health issues.
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