Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced that “the complexities of the political, economic and financial situation in Lebanon take the largest part of our efforts, thinking and work in the government, but our eyes do not always lose sight of our children and their future, so the necessary care for the mental health of our children requires us to move quickly to face the repercussions of what it left behind.” The crises that afflicted our country in the past three years.
Mikati was speaking while sponsoring the “launch of the Public Authority for Mental Health in Schools” this afternoon at the Grand Serail, at the initiative of Education Minister Abbas Al-Halabi, in cooperation with the Lebanese National Committee for UNESCO.
The ceremony was attended by the wife of the Prime Minister, Mai Mikati, and Ministers: Maurice Selim, Amin Salam, George Kallas, Abbas Al-Halabi and Johnny Corm, and Representatives: Bilal Al-Hashimi, Enaya Ezzedine, Adib Abdel Massih, Nada Al-Bustani, Adnan Traboulsi, Qassem Hashem, former MP Bahia Hariri, Qatar’s Ambassador to Lebanon Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Sahlawi, President of the Lebanese University Bassam Badran, Chief Editors Syndicate Joseph Kasifi and personalities.
In his speech, President Mikati said: “This week, the world celebrated the World Mental Health Day, more than two years after the Corona pandemic, which struck all corners of the earth, forced hundreds of millions of homes, disrupted businesses, and shook the global economy, but its invisible effects were in its negative impact on the psychological state of people. Especially the young ones, who were deprived of going to school and imprisoned between the walls of their homes and computer screens. We in Lebanon had the largest share of this negative impact because the pandemic was accompanied by an economic and financial collapse on the one hand, and with a terrifying bombing of the port of Beirut that claimed dozens of lives in addition to injuring thousands.” .
He said: “Some may wonder how the economic and financial collapse and the unprecedented explosion could affect the psychological state of the young, and the answer is simply from seeing these young people endless queues in front of banks, gas stations and bread ovens, and in many cases the families of these young people are part of the queues. They were not themselves with their families in it.
Our focus on the mental health of young people is self-evident for two reasons. The first is that the elderly are more immunized in the face of crises than the young, and the second reason is that young people are the future of our country. Therefore, with the intensification of crises, it is necessary to focus not only on limiting and addressing the economic and financial impact of these crises, but with the same force we must address the psychological repercussions of these crises on the rising generations.
He added: “We must turn the crisis into an opportunity, and in this regard, the escalation of the crises that afflict our country push us to take advantage of these crises and turn them into an opportunity to create a plan according to which we provide a situation that allows the presence of a mental health consultant in all Lebanese schools, because the school is the place that allows We have access to the largest percentage of the country’s children. Here, I call on everyone, including official officials, civil society institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, local and international, to work seriously to achieve this goal in the spirit of cooperation and solidarity, not competition, because the future of our children is not something we compete for to achieve the spoils.”
He added, “I call first on the Ministry of Education and those in charge of it to work on developing a strategic plan dedicated to mental health exclusively in schools for a period of three years, in cooperation with all sectors and all parties, and to involve in this plan discussion and implementation of all parties and stakeholders and work on the assistance of donor countries, local and international organizations and community institutions. Civilians and all those who wish to make this plan a success.
He continued, “The complexities of the political, economic and financial situation in Lebanon take the largest part of our efforts, our thinking and our work in the government, but our eyes do not always lose sight of our children and their future, so the necessary care for the mental health of our children requires us to move quickly to face the repercussions of the crises that afflicted our country.” In the past three years.
In this context, allow me to announce today that we will start with a modest step by implementing a pilot project for mental health in two schools, one in the town of Alma Al-Shaab in the far south and the other in the beloved city of Tripoli, in the hope that the success of this experiment will be a prelude to generalizing it to schools in all Lebanese territories. We call on everyone to cooperate to make this project a success, because the future of our children is the future of Lebanon.”
Minister of Education’s speech
In his speech, Minister of Education and Higher Education Abbas Al-Halabi said: “Every person means that we work to build his competencies and take into account his physical health and of course psychological. We benefit in this context from the experiences of countries and international organizations, which also consider the issue of mental health in schools a very important topic. On September 20, 2022, UNICEF, UNESCO and the World Health Organization launched the “Five Pillars for the Promotion and Protection of Mental Health and Psychosocial Well-Being in Schools and Learning Environments” which are: “Creating an educational environment for positive mental health and well-being”, and Ensure access to early intervention, mental health and support services, “enhance teacher well-being,” and enhance the capacities and knowledge of the education workforce to promote mental health and psychosocial well-being. In addition to ensuring positive and fruitful cooperation between schools, families and communities to build a safe and nurturing learning environment.
Based on these pillars, the mental health policy that we will develop will be integrated with the policies of protection, integration and psychosocial learning, so that all these policies work to secure quality education for all students without exception.
While waiting, the Ministry of Education will not stand idly by, as the General Directorate of Education is currently working on the issue of mental health through several projects implemented by the Guidance and Guidance Authority in coordination with the Directorates of Secondary and Primary Education. The Ministry is also working to secure psychological support for all learners without discrimination, so that they can obtain a quality education within the available capabilities.
He said: “Many efforts have been made over the past years to provide a safe school environment for the child, whether through the launch of the student protection policy in the school environment in 2018, and the start of the implementation of the pilot period for the policy of inclusive public schools, or through the development of a national framework for emotional-social learning that We plan to release it in the coming days.
Thank you, President Mikati, for your attention to education and to mental and social health, and thank you to Mrs. Mai Mikati for her follow-up and interest, and thank you to the work team in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, UNICEF, the National Committee for UNESCO, UNESCO, all partners and donors, and greetings to the work team in the Ministry of Education and the Educational Center, for Giant efforts, continuous coordination, and concern for the health, psychological and social safety of generations.
What you all do, each of his position, is not only a job imposed by job duties, but a passion with a lot of love.
The coordinator of the National Authority for Mental Health in Schools and Secretary-General of the National Committee for UNESCO Heba Nashabe gave a speech in which she said: Because the school is the place through which we can reach the largest possible number of children, we see that our opportunity, to create a sustainable plan for mental health without including all our children As an exception, it constitutes a motive to strengthen the elements of mental health in Lebanon, especially in our schools.
She said: “Working on the mental health of children in school has a positive impact that is reflected on the entire school community, including parents and the local community. Therefore, the initiative of the Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, to establish an independent national commission that works on crisis planning” It surrounds the school community in general.
She added: “The National Mental Health Authority will spread national awareness through all available means, and will implement initiatives – albeit small at the beginning – in cooperation with civil associations, international organizations, private and public schools, municipalities, municipalities, and municipalities, as well as public and municipal schools. The ordeals they have gone through, certainly without canceling or underestimating any of the institutions involved in this work. On the contrary, the role of the authority will be to provide assistance when needed.”
She said, “Today, we will launch a pilot study for two schools: the first, “Alma Al-Shaab Official Intermediate School” in partnership with the “Alma Al-Shaab” municipality in the far south, and the second, “Mai Model Elementary” in partnership with “Al-Azm School” in Tripoli.