Overview

 

During the past few decades, communities both in the North and the East were exposed to several stresses, natural and man-made, and the entire population was exposed to widespread trauma and losses to both human lives and infrastructure. This has left an impact, not only on the individual, but also on the family, community and society. Such mental health problems affect the individuals, resulting in normal reactions such as grief and distress, as well as a variety of other psychological problems. If the trauma and losses are not addressed, it can impact families and societies, causing changes at the family, community and societal levels. The detrimental repercussions of these events are visible in almost all aspects of trauma survivors’ lives; family relations, education, health, social identity, civic constructs, etc.

The effects of traumatic incidents, such as frustration, feeling helpless, displacement, and loss of traditional roles, increase the incidents of psychosocial problems within the communities. According to the National Institute of Mental Health statistics, one out of five persons in Sri Lanka suffers from a mental health problem, out of which only 20% receive services. The consequences of trauma and problems created by the rapid change within communities, causes people to suffer from somatic problems, including headaches, body pains, poor hygiene, limited mobility, inability to look after themselves, poor overall physical health, and psychological problems such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep difficulties, emotional distress, suicide attempts, low self-esteem, prolonged grief due to bereavement, and demoralization.

According to the Mental Health Director at the Ministry of Health, suicide attempts are increasing in the country with females outnumbering males and around 10 suicides reported daily. People who display such symptoms further suffer from social isolation, an inability to find work, loss of income and an inability to care for their children and family. Such conditions further increase the risk of domestic violence, sexual abuse, alcohol addiction in the affected population, and the behavioral and emotional disturbance of children.

Overall, such problems also increase the stigmatization of survivors, which prevent them from resuming normal roles within their communities. In Sri Lanka, the impact of facing mental health problems is exacerbated by social and cultural norms that deter survivors of trauma from openly discussing their condition or seeking treatment due to stigmatization. Vulnerable communities need greater awareness about trauma, causes of trauma, psychological/ behavioural changes due to trauma and services available to them. Lack of resources and expertise in treating people affected by trauma, limited awareness about mental health issues prevalent in communities and lack of livelihood opportunities are the constrains that need to be overcome to ensure holistic care.

Since its inception, FRC has been committed to constantly assessing and improving the quality of services providing physical and psychological relief and rehabilitation, including livelihood support and basic needs to the victims of torture and trauma, while increasing its coverage. A definite pattern of development has evolved in FRC in the field of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and what is now widely referred to as Psychosocial Wellbeing. Not only limited to our own area of service, FRC is able to take a lot of initiative, particularly in the area of people’s other needs such as further medical treatment, legal services, vocational training etc. through the referral system.

FRC currently implements two core programmes. The Trauma Rehabilitation Programme delivers services and implements activities, with the purpose of providing holistic treatment and care to those who have been affected by trauma. Under the Trauma Prevention Programme, FRC lobbies, decision makers, and decision making institutions and organizations, and conducts advocacy campaigns aimed at preventing trauma in Sri Lanka.

  •  

    Trauma Rehabilitation Programmes.


    FRC’s Trauma Rehabilitation Programme delivers services and implements activities, the purpose of which is to provide holistic treatment and care to those who have been affected by trauma.

  •  

    Trauma Prevention Programmes.


    Under its Trauma Prevention Programme, FRC staff lobby influential individuals, decision makers and decision making institutions and organizations, together with conducting advocacy campaigns aimed at preventing trauma in Sri Lanka.

 



*Note: The information contained on this page is compiled from 2010 onwards.