July 23, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Ministry of Health will conduct a census on mental patients in the island to identify the extent of the mental disorders prevailing among the population.
The Ministry has felt the need to conduct a survey as currently not enough data is available from general population other than the information from the patients who seek treatment for mental disorders at the hospitals.
After a study on the mentally ill conducted by the World Health Organization, no survey has been conducted in Sri Lanka in an island-wide scale, the Ministry said.
Director of the Mental Health Unit, Dr. Rasanjalee Hettiacrhchi said the objective of the census is to recognize the different degrees of mental disorders prevalent in the country.
Dr. Hettiacrhchi said initially a pilot project will be launched focusing on Colombo area and later a national survey will be conducted in 2015.
The Ministry of Health estimates the number of the patients with mental disorders is approximately 2.3 million, according to the national news agency Lankapuvath.
Lack of parental care, lack of love, livelihood changes, false accusations, loss of employment and unemployment are the most common causes of mental disorders among the mental patients in Sri Lanka, preliminary investigations have found.
According to the health official, the patients could suffer from loss of interest in work, loss of appetite, insomnia, headaches, and other mental disorders.
Surveys conducted in Sri Lanka have revealed that 50 percent of diabetic patients and 15 percent of pregnant women suffer from mental disorders.
The Ministry of Health says there is a tendency for about 15-20 percent of mental patients to attempt suicide.