According to the World Health Organisation, Sri Lanka has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, with a rate of 58.7 per 100,000 people for men.
They also stated that 1 in 4 people have some type of mental illness or trauma, with only 20% receiving treatment. There is a huge lack of resources, as there are only 67 psychiatrists and 19 psychologists across the 20 million people who live in Sri Lanka. Sadly, like most countries the stigma attached to mental health is high, meaning that often people will not actively seek help. However, even those who wish to seek help struggle due to the uneven distribution of services throughout Sri Lanka. This shows how reliant Sri Lanka is on volunteers to provide the extra support and resources that they desperately need.
My name is Hazel Jackson and I am currently in my second year studying BSc Psychology at the University of Essex. I chose Psychology as a degree to further my passion for learning how to help people in need. I am currently a part of a voluntary support service on campus, which works to improve student well-being. But, I wanted to have more training and experience in mental health, which the University of Essex is currently unable to provide. Thus, I decided to embark on a 5-week volunteering placement in Sri Lanka to achieve this.
I now completed my volunteering placement about a month ago and it was amazing. I absolutely loved the 5 weeks that I spent in Sri Lanka with SLV.Global and would like to thank everyone who helped me get there. I worked in schools teaching English and provided activity support for those with special needs and those recovering from mental illnesses. It was so rewarding to see how happy my work made the service users, especially when you could see service users improving their skills. Also, it was a great opportunity to get immersed in the culture by living with a Sri Lankan family and being able to travel around the country at the weekend with other volunteers. It is an experience I will never forget and always be grateful for. I highly recommend this to anyone who seeks to gain experience in psychology.
Special thanks again to everyone who believed in me and donated to my crowdfunding page!