Embrace NGO activists pose for a photo during an event in Qanat Baqich. (Photo by Embrace NGO)
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More than a third of calls to Lebanon's first and only suicide prevention hotline originate from Beirut, according to data from the mental health NGO Embrace.Three percent of callers were from the Bekaa Valley, 10 percent from north Lebanon and 10 percent from south Lebanon.Now, the hotline operates seven days a week, from noon until 2 a.m. But by 2020, Embrace hopes to provide a 24-hour service.Registered suicides have averaged 141 annually for the past four years.Atoui believes that, since the founding of Embrace, the issue of suicide in Lebanon has received greater media attention than ever before.This year has seen a number of suicides that have been heavily reported on, and the media's handling has at times been "unfortunate," in Atoui's opinion.According to Atoui, 90 percent of suicide victims are struggling with mental illness.
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