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. 2012 Jan;9(1):15-24.

Integration of Mental Health Into Primary Care in Sri Lanka

Free PMC article

Integration of Mental Health Into Primary Care in Sri Lanka

Rachel Jenkins et al. Ment Health Fam Med. .
Free PMC article


Introduction Sri Lanka has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, with recent protracted conflict and the tsunami aggravating mental health needs. This paper describes a project to establish a systematic "train the trainers" programme to integrate mental health into primary care in Sri Lanka's public health system and private sector.Methods A 40 hour training programme was delivered to curriculum and teaching materials were adapted for Sri Lanka, and delivered to 45 psychiatrists, 110 medical officers of mental health and 95 registered medical practitioners, through five courses, each in a different region (Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna, Galle and Batticola). Participants were selected by the senior psychiatrist of each region, on the basis of ability to conduct subsequent roll out of the training. The course was very interactive, with discussions, role plays and small group work, as well as brief theory sessions.Results Qualitative participant feedback was encouraging about the value of the course in improving patient assessments and treatments, and in providing a valuable package for roll out to others. Systematic improvement was achieved between pre- and post-test scores of participants at all training sites. The participants had not had prior experience in such interactive teaching methods, but were able to learn these new techniques relatively quickly.Conclusions The programme has been conducted in collaboration with the Sri Lankan National Institute of Mental Health and the Ministry of Health, and this partnership has helped to ensure that the training is tailored to Sri Lanka and has the chance of long term sustainability.

Keywords: mental health; primary care; trainers; training.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Sri Lanka training: Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna, Batticoloa, Galle

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