Sri Lanka is a country with a serious mental health problem, grown worse by the tsunami of December 2004 and decades of violent civil conflict. The country has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Yet, mental health services are not adequately funded in the healthcare system. The country has only 56 psychiatrists, mostly based in Colombo and other urban areas. Most people have to make long, stressful and expensive journeys to access mental health services. ....more >
BasicNeeds started working in Sri Lanka in 2002, introducing the BasicNeeds Mental Health and Development Model. This community-based process is grounded in the principle of inclusion and a rights-based approach to development. Key to the programme’s effectiveness are community volunteers. They include people with mental illness and those who have recovered, the carers of the mentally ill, and other community members. ....more >
Today, BasicNeeds has reached almost 12,000 people with mental illness and 18,200 community members in the districts of Hambantota, Matara, Galle, Ratnapura, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Puttalam and Colombo. Additionally, BNSL worked with over 10,000 people affected by the tsunami of December 2004 who were identified as particularly vulnerable to mental illness. BasicNeeds Sri Lanka has faced many challenges but has been able to create a positive impact which we can see is growing − and believe is sustainable. ....more >
Vanee Surendranathan , Programme Manager
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