Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Giving a Peace of Mind to the People of Sri Lanka: Sasha’s project with SLV

And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon
The golden apples of the sun.
- From ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ by William Butler Yeats

Yeats’s poem expresses in the form of ‘apples’ that even the most impossible forces can be made personally accessible. This thought has provided me with great assurance at times of difficulty. Yet what it be like to feel completely without hope, at the mercy of forces difficult to understand? This issue has attracted much required attention in terms of natural disasters and upheavals in eastern Asia, but a brave student is taking steps to highlight issues which need to be addressed are not only physical but psychological. Many people may ‘walk among the long dappled grass’ of isolation and mental illness without ever being accounted for, especially in underdeveloped countries.

Sasha Martine Mattock is a student from West Yorkshire, currently studying psychology at Goldsmiths in London, passionate about raising the awareness of mental health issues. It her project for 2015 to work with the organisation SLV in Sri-Lanka during the summer months, bringing better mental health awareness and care to often isolated communities. For people suffering from mental illness who may well have lived much of their lives in fear and without support, Sasha’s work with SLV offers the chance of light which may seem as captivating as the ‘moon’ and ‘sun’ in Yeats’ poem.

Sasha’s work really does shine a light not only on on the importance of raising mental health awareness at an international level, but also what is an exceptional organisation – SLV. SLV is a voluntary organisation which began in 2010, led by graduates from the University of Manchester. The aim is to help to run projects in local communities in Sri Lanka whilst also allowing students to gain valuable knowledge of new cultures and share their skills.
Sasha’s warmth and personality is evident in her thoughts towards the project – ‘I am really interested in this area and am considering following clinical psychology after I graduate. We will be given support through talks about how clinical psychology can be applied in Sri Lanka, the main focus of this placement is working with people to improve their mental health. This I believe is a wonderful course and tackling it head on is the best way to reduce stigma and actually have a positive effect.’

The project seeks not only to open minds but eyes to new possibilities. That is why I am donating to help Sasha help a brilliant cause. It is Sasha’s determination to combat mental health stigma and increase awareness which I share and I hope you do also. To donate any money you can and help make this project a reality please go to https://pledgie.com/campaigns/27887.