Nearly two thirds of patients consulting with MSF’s mental health team in Beirut are showing symptoms related to anxiety and depression. More than half of them attribute their symptoms to the explosion that took place on 4 August. For others with pre-existing mental health issues, 82 per cent admit their symptoms increased in severity after the explosion.
“Two months after the blast, we are seeing an increase in number of consultations. Even though many people have by now treated their physical wounds, secured their external environment and basic needs – like housing, electricity, water – many still cry at night, or they are startled by any slight sound, like that of a pen dropping. They can feel that something isn’t right,” says Rima Makki, MSF’s mental health manager in Beirut. “In the past in Beirut, society and communal networks – family, friends, neighbours - would have normally been the first point of informal support for a troubled person. Today, these networks are all equally impacted – people don’t know who to go to, so they are turning to mental health specialists.” © Mohamad Cheblak/MSF