2018 Aug 1
Reaching the decision to seek psychological help can be difficult at times. Three barriers, in particular, may limit you from seeking treatment for mental health in Sri Lanka. Firstly, the idea of going to a psychologist or mental health practitioner is heavily stigmatized. This commonly held idea is largely associated with the false assumption that mental health is not as important as physical health and that most issues that you and others face are either because it is “all in your head” or that the person in question is “insane.”
Secondly, high consultation fees and costly treatment is another factor that may dissuade you from seeking the help you need. However, while this may be true, it would help to know that there are several psychological support centres and services that are readily available free-of- charge, for those seeking help. Thirdly, a common reason as to why you think twice about seeking treatment for mental health is due to certain reservations about confronting problems that you may have held on to for a long time.
Whatever the reason, it is important to realize that that there is a lot of strength associate with seeking psychological support and is the first step to overcoming any problems you may be facing.
7 Signs it’s Time to Seek Help
- You have not been feeling “yourself.” – Descending into a routine that includes unhealthy habits or having lost your sense of purpose in life.
- You have become dependent on drugs or alcohol.
- You have undergone or are experiencing a major life change. – From a serious breakup to a death of a loved one or a stressful move, major (and most times, unexpected) events can throw you off balance.
- Others have said that they are concerned about you.
- You are contemplating suicide or self-harm.
- You experienced a traumatic event. – Events like accidents, physical or sexual
abuse to severe bullying etc. can be the cause of major physical and mental health
- You have developed compulsive behaviour. – Habits like overeating or even
gambling are signs that your mental health deserves some attention and seeking
treatment may help you get to the root of the problem.
Here’s a roundup of some of the best and most reliable services that provide psychological support in Sri Lanka for those who need it.
As a government approved charity, providing support to anyone who is need of help is central to what Sumithrayo does. The staff at the centre guarantees 100% confidentiality, anonymity and acceptance to individuals who seek their help. There are ten Sri Lanka Sumithrayo centres spread across the country. The Rural programme and The Outreach unit supports the community in numerous ways including face-to-face, over the phone and mail consultations.
Hotline: +94 11 2 682535 / +94 11 2 682570
Address: 60/7, Horton Place, Colombo
2. Mel Medura
Affiliated with Sumithrayo, Mel Medura provides support for all alcohol and drug related issues. You can personally reach out to them at the address below or call the number below for guidance and help.
Address: 60B, Horton Place, Wijerama Mw, Colombo 07
Contact number: 0112693460
Open times: Monday to Saturday, 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
3. Alokaya Counselling Centre – FPA Sri Lanka
The Alokaya Counselling Center focuses on the amalgamation of the mind and body to bring peace and harmony to individuals who seek help. The Centre is a part of the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka which offers a range of sexual and reproductive health services. The Alokaya Counselling Centre offers individual counselling for a range of issues such as psychological concerns, sexual and reproductive health issues, marital counselling, etc. Their group counselling sessions deal with stress management, pre-marital and marital counselling and other workshops.
Details of qualified counsellers:
Ms. Badra Udawatta.
Alokaya Counselling Center.
37/27 Bullers Lane,
Tel: +94 2 584 157 ext. 162
Ms Hema Ranawake
Tel: + 94 2 555 455 ext. 163
4. Shanthi Maargam
A youth counselling center, which provides a safe space to enhance young people’s emotional and psychological well-being while simultaneously creating opportunities for their education and future.
Address: 69/17, Gothami Road, Borella
Contact number: 0717639898
Open time: Tuesday to Friday, 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9.30 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
A resource center for trauma, displacement and mental health, Samutthana is aimed at training and supporting organisations and individuals responding to trauma in Sri Lanka. They also provides counselling and psychological support for individuals.
Address: No. 419, Nawala Road, Nawala, Sri Lanka
Contact number: +94 0115767585 or +94 0112883847
6. CCC Foundation
CCCline is a free Telephone Counselling service in Sri Lanka that provides emotional support and guidance for people facing difficulties or simply wants to talk to someone about their problems. Callers are connected to trained counselors who listen and assist as required. People of all ages are encouraged to call if they are experiencing difficulties of any kind, from divorce to exam stress or death of a loved one or any matter affecting their emotional well-being. They operate 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm.
Address: 379/4, Galle Road , Colombo 03
7. Institute of Mental Health (IMH)
IMH addresses mental health issue and is involved in providing wellness services as well as education and training opportunities. They also offer confidential counseling services, psychotherapy sessions and consultations (upon request) on an individual and/or group basis.
Address: No. 36A, Shrubbery Gardens, Colombo 04.
Contact number: +94 11 2506004 or +94 714 749625
8. National Council for Mental Health (NCMH) – Sahanaya
Sahanaya provides Counselling and Rehabilitation services with suitable care plans suited to the client’s requirements. They are open on weekdays from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
Address: 96/20, Kitulwatta Road, Colombo – 08 (Resource Centre)
115/2, Galkanuwa Rd. Gorakana, Panadura (Residential Facility)
Telephone: +94 112 685 960 / +94 114 339 607
9. Women in Need (WIN)
Women in Need offers psychological counselling to victims of gender-based violence, thereby giving them the opportunity to share their stories, and making them feel safe and trusted. On the long run, they work on empowering the victims who seek their services by improving their self-control and coping skills while also strengthening them to stand against the violence they were subject to. Apart from offering psychological support, WIN provides legal services, emergency shelters, a 24-hour emergency hotline, the 2six4 Mobile App and domestic violence support groups.
Address: 25 Tickell Road, Colombo 8
Telephone: 011 267 14 11 / 011 461 55 49
10. Arnaha Center for Wellbeing
A rather new mental health service, Arnaha Center for Wellbeing offers the highest quality psychological interventions and practical support for people experiencing a wide range of common mental health problems. Their trained therapists can help with a full range of psychological difficulties including depression, low mood, self-esteem,stress, anxiety, anger, OCD, phobias, worry, emotional crises and adjustments, and bereavement.
Address: 111/12 A, Vishnu Kovil Cross Road, Dehiwala
Contact number: 077 051 8173
11. Psychologists (Private Practitioners)
a) Nivendra Uduman – Founder of Footsteps to Freedom, a trained counselling psychologist and psychotherapist, Nivendra Uduman has a private practice located at 166/1A, Rampart Road, Ethul Kotte.
b) Kushlani Munasinghe
c) Kavita Amaratunga (Contact through Arnaha Center for Wellbeing: 077 051 8173)
d) Shalindi Pandithakoralage – Clinical Psychologist at Consortium for Humanitarian Agencies
e) Rekha Attidiye – Ceylinco Healthcare Centre
f) Nilanga Abeysinghe – Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology and Medical Psychology, at South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine
G) Dr. Venura Palihawadana – Consultant psychiatrist
H) Dr. M. Ganesan – Consultant psychiatrist
I) Dr. Shehan Williams – Consultant psychiatrist
J) Ms. Ardlay Mohammed – Counsellor
K) Ms. Kartini Booso – Psychologist
L)Sanchia Supramaniam – Helping Hands Counselling (077 960 5617/ firstname.lastname@example.org)