January 2020: Case study of Phase 1 of COGMAP-S (cross-sectional study) published in SAGE Research Methods
Before starting the survey, we conducted a 7-day training program with local research assistants. During the training, we went over the questionnaires in each packet (available in English as well as the two major languages of Sri Lanka: Tamil and Sinhalese). We asked the research assistants to review the questionnaire for any inconsistencies in language translation and soon discovered that some English terms did not translate well. For instance, in Tamil, there is no word for “flashback” (one of the post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms). We had to take some time ensuring that all the questions we planned to ask participants could be understood in their first language.
March 2019: Open Access article on Phase 1 of COMGAP-S project
This cross-sectional study aimed to determine factors related to mental health disorders at the primary care level in Northern Province, Sri Lanka. A structured interview was conducted with internally displaced adults attending 25 randomly selected primary care facilities across all districts of Northern Sri Lanka (Jaffna, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya). Participants were screened for depression, anxiety, psychosis, PTSD, and somatoform symptoms.
October 2016: Interview with Dr. Siriwardhana on our newly funded PREA project
There are no real systems in place for a comprehensive review at an institutional level and no dedicated networks for researchers to catalogue the ethical challenges that present themselves during field work.
September 2016: £417k study to improve research ethics in humanitarian crises
The project aims to analyse the ethical challenges of humanitarian health research and implement an online resource to improve awareness and share best-practice among researchers looking into humanitarian health issues.
April 2016: Workshop on Public Health in complex Humanitarian Emergencies
‘Due to the stigma and social issues with having a mental health condition, many individuals are reluctant to express concerns or seek help and since primary care level workers are not fully equipped with the skills to identify such conditions these remain untreated.’
Project: Integrating mental health into primary care for conflict-affected forced migrants in Northern Sri Lanka (COMGAP_S)
Resource Person: Dr. Maximillian Nerlander, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
On the 28th of April 2016, as part of the capacity building component of the COMGAP-S project, a workshop was held at the Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS), Kilinochchi on complex humanitarian emergencies by Dr.Maximilan Nerlander (CDC) in collaboration with the University of Jaffna and the Ministry of Health Northern Province. The workshop included a total of 32 Ministry of Health (MoH) staffs, healthcare professionals and the assistant Ministry of Health (AMoH) staff.
Dr. Suranthirkumanran from the University of Jaffna gave a welcome speech and as this workshop was a platform to introduce the COMGAP_S project he introduced the project and highlighted its importance. Dr. Chesmal Siriwardhana from Anglia Ruskin University also gave a brief explanation of the COMGAP_S study which included the pilot study, the mental health intervention and capacity building.
This was followed by four sessions related to public health in complex humanitarian emergencies by Dr.Maximillian Nerlander which included complex humanitarian emergencies, rapid assessment, indicators and Ebola survelliance & response which lead on to discussions on how approaching a complex humanitarian emergency would differ from global to local context and the key factors that need to be considered.
Many of the MoH staff guaranteed that the intervention proposed through the COMGAP_S project will get their continuous support and is highly appreciated due to the lack of evidence based data regarding mental health issues, lack of sufficient treatment & knowledge and social issues & stigma attached to having a mental illness. The MoH staff also expressed that these conditions lead to many individuals being reluctant to seek help resulting to many remaining untreated due to primary care level workers being unequipped to identify such conditions.
May 2016: 2-day Migration Research Networking Event (MHRES)
International experts gathered at Anglia Ruskin University to create a research & policy working group on low-skilled labour migration and health.
View the report here: MHRES Report – Chelmsford May 2016
Governments must accept mass migration is here to stay, according to an expert in migrant global health.
Forced displacement places immense strain on people’s mental health, time doesn’t necessarily heal people who haven’t benefited from psychological support.
There needs to be more research into the mental health of these migrants, clearer definitions and the recognition that migrants and their families are not a homogenous population. Put simply, more needs to be done
Not only does poverty cause many physical health problems — it is also a major risk factor for mental illness.
If you are forcefully displaced, asked to leave everything you have behind, then people have traumatic experiences and those are closely linked to subsequent mental disorders.