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Psychosocial Support Services in Sri Lanka Make Mental Health a Priority

Program Year: 2021

Following the end of the nearly 30-year long civil war, Sri Lanka had just begun to address the psychosocial impact from the trauma of war until the Easter Sunday attacks of April 2019 and the Covid-19 breakout in March 2020. These events only compounded the nation’s psychosocial concerns.

Ten years ago, The Asia Foundation launched the pioneering Victims of Trauma Treatment Program (VTTP) in Sri Lanka’s Northern and Eastern Provinces to provide psychosocial support to communities devastated by the trauma of the civil war. The impact of the war disrupted traditional support networks such as family, community, and religion, which people previously relied upon during times of distress.

With the support and partnership of USAID, the Foundation produced a film to tell the story of the VTTP in a simple and creative way. The stop-motion film illustrates how VTTP responded to the psychosocial needs of vulnerable populations. Along with highlighting the program’s government and NGO partnerships, the film spotlights psychosocial support services provided by partners and mapping studies conducted to better ascertain sector specific needs, introduces the peer support model and professional development programs for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) personnel, and shows how the VTTP has adapted to focus on the needs of MHPSS personnel, particularly during the onset of Covid-19.

Learn more about how the VTTP has addressed the mental strain of Covid-19 in a podcast interview with the Foundation’s Director Mental of Health and Psychological Services program Mihiri Ferdinando.

Related locations: Sri Lanka

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