Growing up in Sri Lanka pain always meant physical pain. I remember my mother applying ointments whenever I bruised my legs when I played with my siblings and cousins. If I had a fever my mother would constantly check my temperature and would take me to a doctor and I was allowed stay home without going to school. Until I started my higher studies I didn’t know that any other form of pain could exist and that the said pain too would need my attention.
Even though the times have changed,mental health issues are still a taboo and is given less or no importance at all. People are judged when they express their emotions like frustration, shame, guilt, and stress instead of being accepted. The fear of being judged and being questioned about their strength revert people to follow poor coping methods and to take drastic steps like committing suicide.
What would possibly give rise to stress and depression you might ask.A parent forcing the child to follow the bio stream in G.C.E. A/L because it would allow the child to do a “prestigious” occupation when the child wants to follow the Art stream because it’s his passion would make the child stressed and eventually depressed. A parent comparing the achievements of his/her child with the child’s classmates when the child is proudly telling his or her achievements would make the child depressed. A friend telling a friend to brush the sadness off for it does not suit a man would ultimately lead to depression. These may seem simple and harmless but actually they could cause much harm which are severe and long lasting.
Is depression a real problem? Yes, it is. Depression is not imagined and the ones who suffer from depression are not attention seekers. The ones who commit suicide due to severe depression do not attempt to end their lives so that they could gain attention and sympathy from others.
We as a nation, who take great pride in helping those who need, is still not late to initiate the task of providing help to people who have depression. We can start with raising awareness on what depression really is and how it differs from the daily stress we face. According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) depression is characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that a person normally enjoys accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities for at least two weeks. Also it is important to make people aware that depression like any other illness could affect anyone at any age. WHO estimates that over 800,000 people suffer from depression in Sri Lanka but the figures would be much higher if we could reach out to rural areas as well.
I’m not denying the great and successful efforts by Non-Government organizations in Sri Lanka like “Sumithrayo”, :Samuttana”, and ShanthiMaargam towards the betterment of mental health, but still in Sri Lanka mental health services tend to be urban centered.
After understanding the need for and the value of mental health professionals in Sri Lanka, KIU commenced the Bachelors of Honours degree in Psychology. In this degree program we provide the students with the best of the education with the best of facilities as our aim is to produce responsible mental health professionals who would go the extra mile to ensure the wellbeing of their clients.
An individual who would like to pursue a career in Psychology does not have to restrict himself just for a clinical setting by becoming a clinical psychologist; rather an individual has the opportunity to become an organizational/business psychologist, a health psychologist, an educational psychologist, a sports psychologist, a lecturer and many more professionals through which an individual could always help individuals with mental health issues. Registrations for the next intake is now open and it is our duty to help you in realizing your dream!
Mrs. D.G.Hiranya Buddhini,
For more details log on to www.ki.lk, visit our official facebook page, visit us at 249/1, Malabe Road, Thalangama North, Koswatta, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka or call us on 0777496000, 0112741878, 0112741042