World Vision implements Mental Health initiative in the North

World Vision Lanka recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health and the College of Psychiatrists to implement a special project on mental health for the Northern Province. The programme is funded by AusAID and will entail an initial investment of LKR 50 million over a one-year period.

In this special initiative, World Vision will assist the Ministry of Health in the implementation of the community based components of the National Mental Health Policy in the Northern Province through the ‘Reconciliation through integration of Mental Health in Northern Districts’ (REMIND) in Sri Lanka.

The project design seeks to use best practices to build the capacity of government mental health services and the communities they serve. In particular, strengthening relationships is central to the project approach. REMIND relies on the belief that equitable recovery and reconciliation in the north can be facilitated by greater trust and better relationships between individuals, families, communities and government services.

“The project will incorporate best practices and lessons learnt from a similar initiative previously funded by World Vision in the South and we are grateful for their support along with AusAID’s funding” said Dr Palitha Mahipala, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health.

The people living in northern Sri Lanka have experienced prolonged conflict, displacement and extreme poverty. As families begin resettling in their villages and re-establishing their livelihoods, mental health and well-being has been identified as an urgent and important need.

“Protecting and responding to the mental health needs and wellbeing of communities is essential for meaningful recovery from conflict and displacement,” said Suresh Bartlett, National Director of World Vision Lanka.

The Ministry of Health (MOH), Health Services (Northern Provincial Council), Medical Office of Mental Health (MOMH), College of Psychiatrists (COP) will be key partners in the project.