I swear on my rice packet that this wasn’t my plan when we decided to come to Sri Lanka. Yet, somehow, I’ve recently stumbled into writing a weekly column in a national English (thankfully) newspaper. Like most things about life here, I can’t explain it, other than to say that’s just the way things happen here.
One minute a radio station is emailing you to wash your penis and the next minute a giant picture of your face is appearing under your byline. The randomness is so excellent.
Needless to say it’s an awesome opportunity and I’m very grateful to the editor of the Ceylon Today newspaper for giving me this chance. I also know that this would have never happened back home, so I plan on doing my best to use the column to invite discussion and thought about the various mental health issues I’ve come across.
At this moment, you might be asking yourself, or me, ‘But Shaun, what the hell do you know about mental health? You’re not a doctor or a nurse and you don’t even own a stethoscope.”
Well, that’s a good question and all very true points (although I might pinch a stethoscope before I go), which is why I won’t be talking much about symptoms or treatments in the column, but will instead focus on attitudes and perceptions.
In the past year-and-a-half, most of my work has revolved around examining and addressing how people think and feel about mental illness in Sri Lanka, as well as challenging my own thoughts about mental health. It’s been an interesting journey that I hope will come out in the columns, and one I hope that whoever reads the column (thanks mom) will find interesting too.
My first three columns can be found below and I will also archive them on the NIMH website under the Mental Health in the News tab – www.nimh.lk.
You can also read the Ceylon Today newspaper at: www.ceylontoday.lk.
Stay tuned for my next blog when I’ll unveil my two recent appearances on national TV. (Hint: In one of the appearances I am a judge, which just happens to be one of my favourite past times.)