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REVIEW
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55-65

Development of mental health care in Sri Lanka: Lessons learned


1 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
2 

Correspondence Address:
Samudra T Kathriarachchi
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Soratha Mawatha, Nugegoda, 10250
Sri Lanka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/TPSY.TPSY_15_19

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Background: Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic country with a rich cultural heritage and biodiversity. Sri Lanka has a population of 21 million with an annual population growth rate of 0.76%. Methods: The authors explored the evolution of mental health care, life-cycle approach to psychiatric disorders, addressing resource limitations in a developing country, and the dilemma of reducing the treatment gap while maintaining standards and quality of care. This review was based on the analysis of related literature, as well as through work experience. Results: As a result of continuous effort, Sri Lanka has more than 110 psychiatrists, practicing in all districts of the country. Academic psychiatry has flourished over the years. Measures to improve mental health literacy, training of allied disciplines, and targeted approaches to improve services for vulnerable groups are taking place at a reasonable rate. The psychiatrists employed throughout Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists, the Board of Study in Psychiatry, and Postgraduate Institute of Medicine, have taken initiative to improve quality of care, by joining hands with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders. Conclusion: Sri Lanka has achieved quality mental health-care outcomes despite having considerable limitations in resource allocation. Mental health services need to be consistently revamped, giving priority to face ongoing challenges to provide quality as well as equitable and efficient service to all the citizens in this beautiful country.


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