World Mental Health Day (10 October) is a day declared for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It was first celebrated in 1992 with the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries. Human Rights Office in Kandy working with different kinds of survivor groups for their legal and psychological needs, believe, that mental health is a human right. We celebrated it with the above mentioned group of people on world mental health day.
The theme of the World Mental Health Day for this year is “Living with Schizophrenia”. The focus is, living a healthy life with schizophrenia, a severe mental disorder affecting more than 21 million people worldwide.
The celebration was held at Fatima Retreat House Lewella. Approximately there were about 150 survivor families of both ethnic groups Sinhala and Tamil. Among the participants, there were prison officials, members of the Religious congregations, priests, the members of the support group, families of the disappeared and of the prisoners and the survivors of Rape & Torture.
Rev. Fr. Chandana Perera (CSSR a mental health professional) who graced the occasion as the chief guest dealt with the theme of the day in an appropriate manner. He spoke about different ways where survivors could create a healthy surrounding for their day today living. He emphasized on the importance of formation of attitudes towards a healthy living. Dealing with male – female mental differences based on Sri Lankan cultural and social outlook in practical and innovative way of living was an eye opener for most of the participants. Meanwhile it was an enjoyable event for the participants as they took part in several practical exercises to release their frantic mental and physical conditions.
The publication of “Nadiya” magazine was the most highlighted even of the day. Nadiya is the Brainchild of the Families of the disappeared. This magazine was evolving slowly but steadily since 2000. Currently some of the well-known writers contribute with their expertise knowledge and experiences for the mental health education of our survivor groups as well as for the general public. The publication was initiated with the chanting of “Bakthi Gee” and the first issue was presented to Rev. Fr. Nandana Manatunge the Director of Human Rights Office in Kandy and then for all the other respective participants.
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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