Our History

The Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists (SLCPsych) is the successor to the Sri Lanka Psychiatric Association which had been in existence since 1971. Ceylon Mental Health Association was formed in 1955 and it was renamed as the Sri Lanka Psychiatric Association in 1971.


Sri Lanka Psychiatric Association (formerly Ceylon Mental Health Association)

The Ceylon Mental Health Association acted as an advocacy group for advancement of psychiatric services and as a professional group for those involved in provision of mental health services in Sri Lanka at the time. Although documented records of the activities of the Ceylon Mental Health Association are sparse personal anecdotes reveal that it has been an active association with regular meetings.

With the country becoming a republic in 1971 this association followed suit and changed its name to become the Sri Lanka Psychiatric Association. During the same period the exodus of doctors including psychiatrists hampered the activities of the Association. The untiring efforts of a few psychiatrists who united under the banner of this Association during this period made the Association a distinct platform for practicing psychiatrists in Sri Lanka to advance their knowledge and skills.

Scientific meetings were held along with the Annual General Meetings. Guest lectures by foreign visitors were a feature of the Association’s calendar even at that time. Workshops for the development of mental health policies and services were held with sponsorship by the World Health Organisation in the 1980s.

The Association provided support for post graduate training activities at the time of the establishment of the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine,University of Colombo.

The early 1990s saw an increase in the activities of the Association including scientific meetings, educational activities and advocacy for better mental health services in the country.

In 1998 the Association was revitalised and has since been functioning effectively to improve mental health service provision throughout the country. The Association has closely liaised with the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine,University of Colombo in all matters involving the training of post-graduate trainees in psychiatry and was instrumental in attracting trainees to the MD psychiatry programme by its educational and training activities. It continued annual academic sessions, worked in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Sri Lanka, World Health Organization and other relevant bodies in its developmental activities. SLPA members provided dedicated services to those affected by war. It conducted several mental health training programmes and supported provision of mental health services to the war affected areas.

Activities of the SLPA were further enhanced after the formation of the Sri Lankan Psychiatrists Association in the UK in 2001. This association has strong ties with the College to date.


Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists

In 2003 the association was transformed to Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists (SLCPsych). The newly formed college continued to improve on the foundations laid by the Association and accelerated service development and educational activities. SLCPsych is committed to advancement of knowledge in psychiatry and holds regular educational activities throughout the country including continuous professional developmental (CPD) activities for medical officers of mental health. The pinnacle of these scientific activities is the annual academic sessions in psychiatry which showcases recent advancements of psychiatry and research activities of members in Sri Lanka and other countries. This cause is further supported by the college journal, Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry, which has been a regular biannual peer reviewed scientific journal since 2010. An abstract book of scientific proceedings was first published in early 1990s and is now a standard feature of the College Annual Academic Sessions.

SLCPsych has been instrumental in changing public perception related to mental health in Sri Lanka through programmes in raising awareness. The College lobbies the government of Sri Lanka to implement a more modern and humane mental health act which will further improve mental health service delivery in Sri Lanka. Though relatively young it is perhaps not coincidental that the vast strides made in mental health services and the changes in public perception related to mental health in Sri Lanka have coincided with the reactivation of SLPA and formation of the College in the recent past.

SLCPsych continues to function with its vision to promote the advancement of mental health and allied sciences, promote systematic research relating to mental health, facilitate the training of undergraduates and postgraduates in psychiatry and carry out advocacy and make representations regarding matters affecting mental health. The college is committed to uplift the image of psychiatry and psychiatrists in its’ future activities.

YearPast PresidentSecretary
2001/2002Dr E. K. RodrigoDr Samudra Kathriarachchi
2003/2004Dr E. K. RodrigoDr H. Gambheera
2004/2005Dr. B. KarunathilakaDr R. Weerasundera
2005/2006Dr R. Hanwella & Dr J. MendisDr U. Gunawardhana
2006/2008Dr H. GambheeraDr U. Gunawardhana
2008/2010Dr J. MendisDr S. S. Williams
2010/2011Dr U. GunawardaneDr S.S.Williams
2012/2013Dr R. AbeysingheDr T. Rajapakse