IYAP took an initiative to raise awareness among youth on mental health and diminish stigma around it. In order to create a better understanding on mental health and to ensure better psychological well-being, entertainment programs were carried by IYAP volunteers.
Mental Health Awareness day on 5th of October 2015 was celebrated by IYAP at Forensic Psychiatric Unit in National Institute of Mental Health Hospital in Angoda, Sri Lanka. The day was spent by holding entertainment activities including musical chair, art and craft, making performances, singing and dancing. IYAP distributed their daily needs such as soaps, shampoos, oil and etc sponsored by Hemas Pvt Ltd. Hemas was contacted for this event through the personal contacts of IYAP volunteers to sponsor this activity. Around 270 patients received essential needs under this project. Keeping the promise made by IYAP in this very first session, the volunteers made the second visit to the hospital in 5 months and provided other needs such as milk powder and tea. During this second visit, the volunteers, themselves collected items such as milk powder friends and families through. Volunteers were predominantly involved with spending time with the patients; talking to them and entertaining them.
This was considered more as a sensitization exercise for the volunteers to learn more about a phenomenon that they were unfamiliar with. The youth were able to gain a better understanding of mental health and the importance of removing stigma around it. This gave them the exposure to be more sensitive when working on social issues.
As young people whole concept of mental health, this is a learning experience and a sharing experience for the volunteers. This was the first time they went to a mental hospital.