Eleni's Sri Lanka Mental Health Volunteering - SLV June 2018

Eleni Panayiotou Start Date: Jul 4, 2017 - End Date: Jun 12, 2018
  • Sri Lanka

My Travel Story

by: Eleni Panayiotou Start Date: Jul 4, 2017 - End Date: Jun 12, 2018
Thank you for taking the time to look at my page!
I'm Eleni, a Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience student at the University of Nottingham. In June 2018, I will be volunteering on a Mental Health Placement in Sri Lanka for 5 weeks, through the organisation SLV Global.

While I’m there, I will be working in multiple institutions such as psychiatric wards, mental health care homes and special needs facilities, alongside individuals who suffer from mental health problems in Sri Lanka. I’ll be running activities for these patients using sensory, music and creative therapies. I will also be attending workshops run by Samutthana, the King’s College London resource centre for trauma, displacement and mental health. The main aim of Samutthana is to train and support organisations to respond to the psychosocial needs of trauma sufferers i.e. tsunami survivors and those who have experienced the ongoing ethnic-conflict in Sri Lanka.

Why Sri Lanka?
The Sri Lankan health sector does have an excellent reputation, but severely lacks within one crucial area of service provision- that of mental health. In Sri Lanka, there are consistently high rates of depression, alcoholism, substance abuse and one of the highest suicide rates in the world (around 6,000 deaths per year and 100,000 people attempting suicide each year). In fact, approximately 5-10% of the Sri Lankan population is thought to be suffering from a mental illness requiring medical attention. As in many other low and middle income-countries, Sri Lanka is plagued by poor funding and a lack of trained human resources – there is actually only one psychiatrist per 500,000 people there, (150 per 500,000 people in Switzerland, to compare). Even where there are experts, they are concentrated in urban areas. This leaves war-torn areas, due to three decades of ethnic conflict and events such as the 2004 tsunami, in a completely inadequate state. This is why I'd like to help.

The Mental Health Placement is unpaid and voluntary, with a cost, so I'm asking friends, family or anyone who holds mental health close to their heart to sponsor my trip! I'll be working and saving like crazy from now until I leave, but any donations would be hugely appreciated. I'll be sending postcards from Sri Lanka to people that donate to keep you updated on what I'm doing!

Thank you so so much - I really do appreciate it.

Eleni xxx

Any questions: eleni408@hotmail.co.uk
Thank you everyone!

  • Sri Lanka