Out of Mind

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe (2nd R) arrives to visit the site of a bomb attack at St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade in Colombo on April 21, 2019. - A string of blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on April 21, killing at least 156 people, including 35 foreigners. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Mental health professionals say available mental health care in Sri Lanka is no where near enough to guarantee peace of mind. Mental health professionals say available mental health care in Sri Lanka is no where near enough to guarantee peace of mind. “We have been training people, but we need more,” says Director, Mental Health Services, Ministry of Health, Hiranthi de Silva.

“We don’t have a single psychologist under the Ministry, only two or three in universities. We have only 41 psychiatrists,” says de Silva.

There is also nothing called a psychiatric nurse in the whole island, only 13 occupational therapists and only 8 psychiatric social workers for the entire public health sector.

To make matters worse, whatever trained professional services available, are concentrated in Colombo and a few urban areas and the few psychiatric hospitals offer only a limited range of clinical facilities.

Local mental health practitioners say there is not enough data to quantify the amount of disease, death and disability due to mental health problems in Sri Lanka.

But it is estimated that nearly four lakh