I have chosen to take part in a mental health placement in Sri Lanka for 4 weeks. I have chosen to go to Sri Lanka because the resources for those living with mental illness are scarce and I strongly believe the projects make a direct impact on the local community. From psychiatric facilities to makeshift classrooms in temples, the projects I will be involved in are diverse in order to maximise the people we help. All of the projects aim to promote positive mental health as much as possible though boosting confidence, self-esteem and improving key life skills of the residents.
According to a report conducted by the WHO, the skills often neglected in the developing world, but intrinsically linked to mental health are: decision-making, problem-solving, creative and critical thinking, effective communication, interpersonal skills, self-awareness and coping with emotions and stress, so the projects aim to target these areas.
Alongside the psychiatric facility, I'll work in a number of schools and initiatives for those with specific needs, such as autism or a brain injury. The team partners with a number of children's development centres, our aim is to be role models, but not caregivers to children who are often marginalised by poverty and circumstance through teaching english, coaching sport and other extra-curricular activities. Many locals travel miles to attend our projects, which shows just how important they can be.