Our charity was founded on the principle that no one should have to suffer with mental health concerns due to lack of access to treatment. We have seen first-hand how barriers to care like geographical location and cultural factors can impact an individual's ability to get the support they desperately require. We are committed to working with the local community to connect people in need with essential mental health services.
What's the need?
Sri Lanka's history is fraught with hardship, from the 25-year-long civil war to the 2004 tsunami, resulting in collective and individual trauma. The SLV.Global Mental Health fund works with local NGOs and grassroots organisations to build capacity within the local community to train individuals with basic mental health skills to help cope with the current shortfall.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Sri Lanka has the fourth highest suicide rates in the world at 28.8 per 100,000 (male rate - 46.4 per 100,000 ; female rate - 12.8 per 100,000). However, the country also has an extreme deficit of mental healthcare professionals with just 0.36 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. Sadly this means that those most in need often go without professional care.
How we can help
The funds we allocate to Sri Lanka go to training up key workers within the local community, equipped with basic mental health first aid skills, to provide initial support to the affected individual and their family. With stigma being a massive barrier to treatment, simply providing human contact and interacting with people with mental health concerns without fear or prejudice goes a long way to helping shape future attitudes towards those with complex mental health needs.
Disaster Relief Over the past five years, unprecedented incidents of flooding and landslides have affected the south Sri Lanka. In cases of natural disaster we will allocate funds to the relief effort to those on the ground undertaking the lifesaving work of providing necessities and accommodation for those displaced.
Similarly in Indonesia, according to the WHO there are just 0.01 psychiatrists for 100,000 people. And with just 48 psychiatric hospitals for a population of over 261 million people, the care deficit is immense. Traditional healers are more commonly consulted than doctors for anything psychological, which means that those who need help are often ill for extended periods before ever seeing a medical professional. Access to appropriate services is a massive barrier to treatment in Indonesia.
However, unlike in Sri Lanka, in Indonesia, "the department of health does not authorise primary health care nurses to prescribe and/or to continue prescription of psychotherapeutic medicines. Similarly, official policy does not permit primary health care nurses to independently diagnose and treat mental disorders within the primary care system." This means that the people in crisis need to be able to access a facility specialising in psychiatric care to receive treatment, which can often be hundreds or thousands of miles away from the village where they live. And with so many people in Indonesia, and more specifically, Bali, living hand-to-mouth, reaching one of these facilities may be impossible.
How we can help
The SLV.Global Mental Health fund aims to support local professionals doing outreach in their respective communities to support those with mental health concerns, whose lack of opportunity to receive treatment is greatest.
Disaster Relief Recently, one of Indonesia's over 120 active volcanoes has been threatening to erupt. Mt. Agung's volatility continues to be a concern for the local people of Bali. Although our project areas are safe, thousands of people's livelihoods have been irreparably damaged due to the continuous warnings and evacuations surrounding Agung's potential activity. In cases of natural disaster we will allocate funds to the relief effort to those on the ground undertaking the lifesaving work of providing necessities and accommodation for those displaced.
Our educational program in India partially takes place in Southern India, at one of the top five psychiatric facilities in the world, NIMHANS. This facility routinely sees up to 400 service users every day in their 28 departments.
In India the SLV.Global Mental Health Fund aims to provide financial support to the various departments, including community outreach and psychiatric social work. By increasing the number of professionals on the ground, in the community and outside of the hospital, it enables the hospital to better serve the community by seeing the most extreme cases on site. Satellite workers are then able to provide assistance within the local communities and continue to provide follow-up care for those released from the hospital or for those whose conditions are not severe enough to require institutionalisation.
How we can help
Similarly to Indonesia, access to treatment is difficult. Therefore training up more key workers and volunteers to work within the local community, and not just within the hospital walls, decreases pressure on the hospital and allows for a better quality of treatment for all concerned.