Sri Lanka Mental Health Placement

Laura Chadwick Start Date: Feb 27, 2018 - End Date: Jul 21, 2018
  • Sri Lanka

My Travel Story

by: Laura Chadwick Start Date: Feb 27, 2018 - End Date: Jul 21, 2018
Hi, I'm Laura. I'm 19 years old and currently undertaking my 2nd year of studying Psychology at the University of Nottingham. I made this page because I will be travelling to Sri Lanka at the end of July to spend 3 weeks volunteering on a mental health placement. This has been organised through Plan My Gap Year.

Few people are aware of the problems facing Sri Lankan citizens with regards to mental health. Currently in this country, mental health needs are increasing and there are not enough provisions to help. Sri Lanka has one of the highest suicide rates globally; in fact the World Health Organisation listed Sri Lanka as the 4th highest suicide rate in the world. These rates are even more predominant in areas which have been affected by the 2004 tsunami, where 40% of people suffer with a mental health disorder. This is clearly a serious problem, since Sri Lanka has a significant lack of funding and professional care in the mental health sector, particularly in poorer areas which are the most affected. Furthermore, there remains a huge stigma around mental health here, making it all the more difficult to tackle the issue. This is why I would like to help. 

During this placement, I will be staying in the Galle district, which was one of the worst affected areas during the 2004 tsunami and is still negatively impacting the area today. I will be spending time in hospitals, observing mental health doctors during their consultations with patients. I will also be going into local schools, organising therapeutic activities for mentally disabled children. I will undertake a weekly placement at the National Council for Mental Health, which is one of the only support networks in Sri Lanka which provides therapy for people recovering from serious mental health disorders. This will allow me to interact directly with recovering mental health patients and promote positive wellbeing. Finally, while on placement I will be attending lectures and seminars to learn more about how mental health patients are treated in Sri Lanka and the various therapies adopted in this culture. 

The placement is entirely voluntary and has some large costs associated with it. As well as the placement fee, there are many external costs such as flights, vaccinations and visa permits to name a few. I will therefore be saving as much as possible from now until July. However, I would be extremely grateful for any donations from friends and family as even a small amount can help me fund a necessary vaccination or transport fee! If anyone would like to ask me questions about what I'm doing please feel free to drop me a message on facebook, I'll also leave my email address below. 

Thank you so much for your time

Loz x



  • Sri Lanka