I am studying Psychology currently at the University of Exeter and want to gain experience and help raise awareness for a cause I stronfly believe in. Sri Lanka is in desperate need of mental health support and it is estimated that in tsunami-affected areas 40% of people suffer from common mental disorder and there is a 3% prevalence of severe mental disorder.
Sri Lanka’s suicide rates are amongst the highest globally according to the World Health Organisation and mental health needs in Sri Lanka today are as high as anywhere else in the world. In more recent times the country as a whole is moving away from the traditional cultural stigma that had always been attached to mental health in Sri Lanka. Whilst integrating mental health into the primary care of Sri Lanka’s public health system and private sector still remains challenging, more recently there has been encouraging signs that right tracks are being made to do this.
I want to further understand mental health care, not only in my own country, but also through the eyes of different cultures as well. It is a strong belief of mine that every case is unique when it comes to mental health. By further broadening who I will come into contact with, I hope I will be able to appreciate and understand future indiviuduals.
The programme is based in the Galle District which was one of the worst affected regions from the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami and to this day today has left lasting impact both physically and mentally on Sri Lanka people. I will be shadowing and observing mental health doctors during consultation periods with inward patients at hospitals and clinics who will all have varying forms of mental illnesses for me to gain insight into.
I will spend time at the heart of community projects working with and providing care and attention for mentally disabled children in a government school and/or NGO. I will be expected to be dynamic and creative in preparing fun engaging activities and games such as arts and crafts/drawing and painting as a mechanism to help support creative therapy amongst children who have mental health disabilities. I am truly thrilled to be able to work and help a cause that is so close to my heart.
I have a strong willingness to get involved and want to gain skills that I can use to help people when I arrive back home.