Teachers College, Columbia University

Sinead Sinnott

Master of Arts

"My time with SLV.Global was life-changing one to say the least. I was already fascinated by global mental health from my university classes, however being able to see the pragmatic variations of disorders and treatments of another culture directly was invaluable. The post-war outreach field trip to the northern part of Sri Lanka provided valuable insight about how lower resourced communities are able to treat patients just as, if not more, efficiently than treatment in a western setting. Despite seeing patients for five minutes per month instead of for an hour each week, task-shifting allowed trained community workers to watch over patients and inform the psychiatrists about the needs and issues of the patients in the community in between visits. It was useful to see how mental illness is manifested in a such an optimistic culture with fewer words for negative emotions than in English, and how Sri Lankan psychiatrists are able to identify and overcome what western doctors would likely view as a barrier." 

"Beyond the practical applications of SLV.Global, the research experience at a state-of-the-art mental health facility in Bangalore, India during the Clinical and Ancient Psychology Trip, provided a unique and holistic approach to how mind-body therapies such as yoga and meditation can be used to treat mental illness. The lessons I learned at my workshops at the psychiatric facility and the School of Ancient Wisdom will remain incomparable resources for my research and clinical work for the rest of my career. Sri Lanka will always remain dear to my heart, not only for my personal connection to the people and country, but for the rare and invaluable professional experience that I could not have received through any other program!"