chapter  11
12 Pages

Mental health services in Sri Lanka

WithHarischandra Gambheera

Sri Lanka is a small island in the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent with a land area of 65,610 square kilometres. It had been known as Ceylon until it obtained complete independence from its British rulers in 1972. Sri Lanka is a densely populated country with approximately 20 million inhabitants (Department of Census and Statistics, 2012). The documented history of Sri Lanka goes as far back as 3,000 years (Geiger, 1912). Sri Lanka is a culturally diverse country and is home to many ethnic groups, including Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Indian Tamils, Burghers, Moors, etc. There is also an indigenous tribe known as Vedda living mainly in Bintenne. Two provinces of the country, north and eastern, were in the shadows, under the influence of the 30 years long ethnic conflict which completely ended in August 2009. The adverse consequences of the long war were not only limited to the north and east of the country, for it hindered the development of the entire country.