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Let’s Talk: Women’s Mental Health

The Ohana Project presents “Let’s Talk: Women’s Mental Health”, an open discussion on women’s mental health for the first time in Sri Lanka. This is a two-hour programme that will be conducted on Thursday, 19 March from 6.30-8.30 p.m. at Hatch. Women of all ages and men are welcome to join this discussion.

Speaking to Ohana Project Co-founders Nivendra Uduman and Nilushka Perera, we found out that this is an event that will explore women’s mental issues through experiences of Sri Lankan women who have suffered and coped through such conditions.

Perera further stated: “One of the main reasons why we wanted to have this event now, is because at a time when there is somewhat of a dialogue about mental health, many people are not aware that women are increasingly vulnerable to mental illnesses due to certain social and biological factors, and it is time we created a discussion about it.”

Women with various experiences will be at the panel for Let’s Talk: Women’s Mental Health starting from those who have undergone child abuse, sexual assault, and/or rape, those engaged in sex work, immigrant workers, those who have undergone cosmetic surgery, and even mothers to talk about their post-pregnancy experiences.

Let’s Talk: Women’s Mental Health aims to create an equitable, fair conversation on these issues and facilitate a forum where everyone can learn from each other and the strategies they use to overcome. This according to Perera is a community-based learning technique that we Sri Lankans often fail to appreciate as we have been programmed to seek comfort in the doctor-patient scenario when it comes to physical or mental health. “Learning from experience is one of the best ways to explore the practical aspects of societal issues,” added Perera.

Apart from the discussions and story sharing sessions, The Ohana Project will conduct a brief research-based presentation on premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) – which is very much tied to hormonal changes – that is commonly suffered by young girls.

Further, the event will come to a close with a mindfulness meditation session, to help the attendees calm their minds after a lot of heavy information.

When asked why this discussion is hosted at this point in time, Perera stated that there is no right time to talk about sensitive issues like this because women’s issues are not limited to women alone; they are issues that affect the society as a whole.

Those interested in attending Let’s Talk: Women’s Mental Health may sign up through the event pages via Instagram or Facebook or send an email to ohanaprojectsl@gmail.com to confirm attendance.

The Ohana Project was founded with the intention of taking mental health awareness, education, training, and capacity building to every corner of Sri Lanka.

The team behind The Ohana Project is composed of psychologists, counselors, and mental health advocates from diverse backgrounds. Workshops conducted by The Ohana Project are often facilitated in English, Sinhala, and Tamil languages.

Facebook event: Let’s Talk: Women’s Mental Health