Sri Lanka EMDR Association takes an extra step to address the mental health needs of the community living in remote areas.
It is a known fact among the mental health professionals as well as the general population, that the mental health needs of the people in the remote and undeveloped areas in Sri Lanka are not met at all. Most of the existing mental health professionals are centered in and around Colombo and a few other major cities. As a result of this lack, there are many social ills that exist in those areas. Suicides can be the most prominent problem. Besides, there exist domestic violence, relationship problems, child abuse, divorce, incest, rape, alcoholism and drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies, and various other forms of problems. Children have too much stress due to the demands of parents to do better in their studies. The youth have no proper guidance in searching for goals in life. Unfortunately, there are no Counsellors to whom they can go to, when there is a crisis and often they take the wrong decision which can end up either in death, suicide or even murder. Sometimes, mental disorders also can result and no help is available for them even in Government hospitals.
Brief description of the project
Having noted this situation and wanting to address this problem at least in a small way, SRI LANKA EMDR ASSOCIATION planned to conduct several programmes in the remote areas of the country to train a group of “barefoot counsellors” who can be helpful to the villagers, when the need arises.
The training programme consists of 3 Modules where we would like to impart to the participants basic communication and counselling skills, focusing first on their own personal development. In addition, we also make it an opportunity to educate them on personality development, psychosexuality, mental disorders and a host of other subjects that can enable them to work confidently among the people. They cannot be considered professional counsellors as that needs much more intense preparation. But with these basic skills they can handle a crisis situation better, and refer them to more qualified professionals when it is necessary.
The participants receive this training entirely free. The first workshop was conducted by the Association with the little money we had in the Bank.Then later realizing the value of this service by the Association, many of our friends extended their financial support .
Since 2018 ( before Covid 19 took place in 2020 March ) we have conducted programs in Kilinochchi, Hambanthota ,Minnariya,Tangalla,and Bopitiya.
Project is conducted by Sr Janet Nethisinghe and Indira Weerasinghe.