chapter  9
7 Pages

In the therapist’s chair is Suman Fernando


The Trauma and Global Health (TGH) Program, a programme of research, capacity building and knowledge transfer coordinated by staff at McGill University in Montreal, was implemented between 2007 and 2011. The work in Sri Lanka was led by the authors Chamindra Weerackody (CW) and Suman Fernando (SF) was consultant to the programme. In this chapter we report on the lessons derived about mental health development during our work on the programme, set against the background of 'mental health' in Sri Lanka. Western influence came with colonization by European powers from the early 16th century. The population doubled between 1900 and 1948, and an extensive system of medical provision based on Western medicine was established, superior to that in most other British colonies, including British India. Mental health care based on Western psychiatry was first introduced to Sri Lanka when the first small lunatic asylum was opened in 1847.