Global development podcast: why care about mental health? by Global Development published on 2013-06-25T10:20:43Z Sri Lanka has many people with serious mental health problems, exacerbated by the tsunami of December 2004 and decades of civil war. The country has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. Yet mental health services are inadequately funded. Sri Lanka has only 56 psychiatrists, most of whom are based in Colombo and other urban areas. But Sri Lanka is not the only developing country with poor mental health provision. In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a programme to improve services for patients with mental or neurological problems, and people with substance-use disorders. According to WHO, most of the people affected – 75% of whom live in low-income countries – do not have access to the treatment they need. Vivienne Perry talks to Dr Michelle Funk, who co-ordinates the WHO programme, Ananda Galappatti, who has worked as a mental health practitioner in Sri Lanka for 16 years, and people in Sri Lanka who have mental health disorders.