"No Health without Mental Health"
World mental Health day Celebration 2011
World Mental Health Day (Oct. 10) is a day for global health education, awareness, and advocacy. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. This day each October, thousands of supporters come together to celebrate this annual awareness program.
In Sri Lanka this day is part of the health awareness week. We at Human Rights Office Kandy, understanding the effects of Mental Health in the healing process of our survivor group celebrate this day for the first time with our survivors. The theme of the day is “No Health without Mental Health”
It was a half a day program held at St. Mary’s Church hall, Ampitiya. The participants of the celebration were: Our survivor group of families of disappeared, survivors of torture rape, survivors of Human rights violations, and their family members. There were also the members of the support group, the family counselors, the parishioners of Ampitiya St. Mary’s church, friends and well-wishers. There were around 100 participants for the celebration.
The families of the disappeared in the first meeting of the year 2011 decided to produce a magazine by themselves named as “Nadia” meaning River to share their experiences, to develop their writing and reading skills, and thereby to enrich their live. In March on Women’s Day the first issue was published and distributed. This day the 2nd issue was printed and distributed among the survivors titled as “No Health without Mental Health”.
A unique feature of the magazine is the articles were written by the mental health professionals with a view of providing a better information, knowledge and experience to our survivor groups. The president of the families of the disappeared in her introduction briefed the gathering on the vision goal and the objectives of the magazine.
Fr. Nandana the founder director of the Human Rights Office presented to the participants the importance of the Mental Health in the healing process of the survivors.
The director of the Community mental Health Resource Center at his staff at Katugastota was the guest speaker for the day. With the use of audio visuals he shared his wealth of knowledge and experiences on “how to live a happy life” and the participants were enriched with his presentation. He being a well knowable and experienced in his profession working for the mental health in the Kandy district regardless of cast and creed said that it was his first experience to participate in a meaningful mental health day celebration with a survivor group. ‘It is wonderful and unique experience’ he repeated again and again.
The local community of Ampitiya contributed to the occasion by producing dances, music and songs giving the participants healing of mind, body and spirit, with relaxation and enjoyment. It was a healing experience for the survivor group to be relived of the tension and stress taste of raising their minds to a high level of thinking and enjoying.
The day ended with a tone of joy and happiness.
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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