The Impact of Amitriptyline Donation by Anera and IHP
In the face of Lebanon's tumultuous crises, from economic to regional conflicts and the enduring aftermath of the 2020 port explosion, Anera and International Health Partners (IHP) can offer some hope. The partnership has enabled a donation of a crucial antidepressant, known as amitriptyline, that addresses the escalating mental health challenges besieging the nation. Two mental health experts offer insight into the impact of the medicines and treatment for the mental well-being of the Lebanese population.
Navigating Mental Health Challenges
Mohammad Kalash, a respected psychiatrist and UNRWA consultant in Beirut, underscores the gravity of Lebanon's mental health issues. He says mental health concerns have surged, particularly in free clinics. Kalash emphasizes the significance of amitriptyline, a versatile antidepressant that targets multiple neurotransmitters, and offers a comprehensive solution for patients battling depression, anxiety, and psychosis.
Kalash calls the medicine "a valuable tool in our efforts to address the rising tide of mental health issues." He also stresses the importance of a holistic approach, acknowledging that medication alone may not always be the sole solution. He stresses the crucial role of therapy in supporting mental well-being.
Amitriptyline Donation in Action
Alaa Morra, the mental health and psychosocial support field coordinator at UNRWA, provides first-hand insights into the impact of the amitriptyline donation. The medication is distributed to all UNRWA mental health centers in Lebanon. Morra says it fills critical gaps in access to vital medicines that has been exacerbated by rising prices and increased demand.
"The amitriptyline donation addresses the needs of patients dependent on this medication, preventing potential disruptions in their mental health treatment," says Morra.
The surge in medication prices and consultation costs has redirected patients to free clinics, significantly impacting their operations. The donation ensures that these clinics can continue to provide essential mental health support.
"The amitriptyline donation addresses the needs of patients dependent on this medication, preventing potential disruptions in their mental health treatment."
The Impact of IHP's Donation
IHP's generous donation included 28,500 packs of medicines (798,000 tablets) that can treat at least 2,000 patients for a year. This second shipment, distributed in January, reached over 60 health centers, serving both vulnerable Lebanese and refugees. In a country described as the "angriest" in the world, the prevalence of mental health conditions is alarming. At least 25% of the population has been diagnosed with some form of mental health condition, and 20% are suffering from depression.
Economic decline and political instability have amplified the need for mental health consultations, particularly in Lebanon’s primary healthcare centers. Donations like those provided by IHP become crucial lifelines for primary healthcare centers, ensuring free medications for patients amidst the economic downturn. As Lebanon battles its demons, the continuing collaborative of Anera and IHP, stand as a testament to the power of global solidarity.