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The Message of the President’s

Dear Colleagues,

First and foremost let me take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all the members of the Sri Lanka College of Psychiatrists for having faith in me and appointing me as the president of the College for 2021-2022.
The enthusiastic new council will try their best along with the members to take effective steps in developing mental health services in the country, and also raise awareness on mental health well-being and disorders among the primary healthcare staff and the general public. This will indirectly reduce the stigma attached to mental health problems.

The College has identified the major challenge faced by healthcare professionals in working as front-liners in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and has joined hands with “The Asia Foundation” in reaching out to them in order to prevent staff burnout and frustration. The College has also initiated a special hotline psychological support service for healthcare staff and intend printing booklets, posters, banners and posting motivational and supportive messages on social media and personal communication devices. The members of the College and council will be visiting 9 districts in the country during our tenure to actively participate in the mental health review meetings along with the local psychiatrists and medical administrators, to facilitate the formulation of their annual mental health development plans and also monitor their progress.

The new council intends to revive the regional conferences, in collaboration with the clinical societies of peripheral hospitals. This will enable networking among peripheral psychiatrists and council members and also other medical specialists and general practitioners while updating their knowledge on the recent developments of psychiatry. The regional conferences starting from Trincomalee and Anuradhapura will inevitably be an inspiration and pave the way for the membership to appreciate the untiring efforts of the regional psychiatrists in the development of regional psychiatric services. We will strive to include topics of medical specialties related to psychiatry and invite neurologists, radiologists, and forensic specialists to address us at these regional conferences.

The new council is quite concerned about the unexpected high failure rate of our trainees in theory papers at the recent MD(Psychiatry) examinations. The College has taken a keen initiative to launch an online lecture series mainly targeting the trainees in psychiatry to enhance their critical essay writing as well as clinical skills. We are indeed deeply grateful to the experienced examiners and clinicians who agreed without any hesitance in actively participating in this online lecture series, which has already become very popular among the trainees. We have extended this to incorporate lectures on various topics of clinical interest for practicing psychiatrists in the form of activities of continuous professional development (CPD). The College intends to develop its website to help the trainees as well as the psychiatrists in enhancing their professional development, participate in CPD activities and obtain marks for participation and also CPD certificates.

The College will initiate training programs for public health midwives (PMs) on the detection of common psychiatric disorders, administering the depot antipsychotic injections, and also for public health inspectors (PHIs) on detection of substance misuse disorders. It is expected that we will be able to request the help of PMs and PHIs in the development of community psychiatric services.

The annual academic sessions had to be postponed twice due to the ongoing pandemic and restriction of overseas travel, but we are hopeful of having an exceptional international conference with the participation of eminent and world-renowned psychiatrists from the eastern and western world in October 2021.

The new council has already appointed 5 sub-committees namely: Forensic, Child and adolescent, Old age, Addictions, and Ministry and liaison, to coordinate services in the relevant sub-specialties.
I hope you will feel free to reach out to me and the council with any of your thoughts about the future development of our College and members are cordially invited to inform us of your suggestions for the council to initiate in the coming years on contact slcpsych@gmail.com

The greatest strength of our College is our membership and I sincerely invite all of you to participate in all our activities and actively contribute towards making our College to greater heights.

I would like to assure you that the new council will try its best to develop our specialty and the services rendered towards the development of mental health services during our office term and sincerely expect all the support and encouragement of the membership in our future endeavors.

Thank you.
Gihan Abeywardena.