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 Post subject: Does mental health mean madness?
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 2:03 am 
Does mental health mean madness?

Why do we need a psychological care centre in Sri Lanka?

Going off your mind can mean many things. It needn't necessarily mean you're nuts or that you've gone cuckoo. Because the mind is a very complex and touchy subject, the slightest disturbance can create its own avalanche, leaving a person vulnerable to a host of feelings, from feeling down, to depressive to losing your sanity. Therefore, it is imperative that a country has sufficient resources to give psychological care for its people.

With over 10% of our population suffering from mental and behavioural disorders and 15% of our children suffering the same, the need for psychological care has long become an evident necessity. What's more, statistics show that to every 1 million people there is only one trained psychiatrist in Sri Lanka. Added to that statistic is that Sri Lanka has the second highest suicidal rate in the world.

Mental health relates to workplace stress, trauma, alcohol and drug abuse, relationship issues and emotional deprivation. The civil strife that Sri Lanka has suffered for the last two decades has also left both physical and mental scars on thousands of Sri Lankans. The recent tsunami disaster has left people to cope with the loss of family members, property and livelihood. Our capacity to cope with all this is virtually non-existent. With neither the resource base nor the organisational ability to deal with the surviving millions, there is compelling and urgent need to develop new strategies and approaches to deal with the problem.

During its two decades of work, Sahanaya, the National Council for Mental Health, the leading non-governmental organisation in Sri Lanka, has identified a range of unmet needs of those with disabilities, those under distress and those exposed to disasters, and for the need of an institutional mechanism to respond to these needs.

This compelling need has driven Sahanaya to embark on a project to establish a Mental Health and Psychological Care centre in Gorakana, by the side of the Bolgoda Lake. The aim of this project is to impart and enhance the capacity of personnel working in the area of health and other human services and to caregivers in the areas of psychosocial care. This will help those in need and also facilitate the development of the required social infrastructures and systems of psychosocial care across the country. The centre will work through the district resource Centres and divisional centres to target and draw in the appropriate cadres of persons in order to:

·»Raise awareness towards the public on the needs of people who require assistance

·»Provide necessary training to persons who will provide such care

·»Provide a service trough qualified personnel and a cadre of competent persons who have already been trained.

These services could be provided by the local residents who have been trained, and who would then possess the competency to determine when any person must be directed to a hospital or for professional treatment.

So, let's unite to help ourselves. Because mental health is no more a subject to be shunned or whispered about. It is a state of mind that requires care and at times professional help.

Making our very own Psychological Care Centre a reality rests in the hands of generous donors from the public and private sector. Don't hesitate to help in any way possible, because your help could mean the happiness or peace of mind of your fellow brother or sister.

Sahanaya -National Council for Mental Health

Address:96/20, Kitulwatta Road, Colombo 8

Fax: 5350819

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