Launching of Books on Mental Health and Workshop on ‘Spiritual Healing and Mental Health’

The Trauma and Global Health (TGH) Program implemented in Sri Lanka by McGill University and Douglas Mental Health University Institute in partnership with a national NGO (People’s Rural Development Association - PRDA) is planning a book launch and a workshop on the theme ‘Spiritual Healing and Mental Health’. The event would be held from 9.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. on Saturday 19th November 2011 at YMCA Community Hall in Batticaloa. Book launch The following publications compiled on the basis of research studies and capacity building training programs conducted by the TGH program over a period of four years will be launched at this workshop. 1. Introduction to Mental Health and Mental Health Nursing in Sri Lanka (Tamil & English Manual) 2. Introduction to Mental Health for Social Work in Sri Lanka (Tamil & English Manuals) 3. Reflections on Mental Health and Wellbeing - Learning from communities affected by conflict, dislocation and natural disaster in Sri Lanka(English) 4. Aspects of Mental Health in Sri Lanka Workshop In view of several reasons, we have chosen ‘Spiritual Healing and Mental Health’ to be the main theme and focus of the workshop. One was that in all TGH community studies ‘religion’ came up high as one source of help for ‘traumatized’ people. Also, there have been studies reported from Batticaloa area – e.g. Patricia Lawrence, an anthropologist from US who has described how, in the face of the suffering resulting from political violence in eastern Sri Lanka, traumatized people obtained protection and healing from Hindu goddess cults and local oracles (mainly people who have been empowered through possession). Secondly, in places like Sri Lanka people tend to be religious and turn to various religious practices to help them with what psychiatrists may refer to as problems of anxiety, depression and perhaps ‘psychosis’. These matters are rarely discussed openly when mental health professionals (including community workers) meet. There is much discussion nowadays in UK on the role of ‘spirituality’ in work with people having mental health problems within what is called the ‘recovery approach’ ‘values based treatment’ etc. There is some interest within transcultural psychiatry too in how religious healing may help people. If you are interested to participate in this workshop and book launch, please send you name and address to Dr Judy Jeyakumar, Psychiatrist, BH-Kalmunai, Tel: 0776594378; email: judyjeyakumar@yahoo.com An official invitation would be sent to you closer to the workshop and book launch.

Chamindra Weerackody Project Lead, TGH Program, Sri Lanka