During these globally unprecedented times, a majority of the focus has been on the raging pandemic in terms of containment and cure. There is no doubt that getting ahead of the disease is paramount, be it in terms of a vaccine or keeping communities safe. Yet there has not been nearly enough attention given to mental health awareness and wellbeing during the time of COVID-19. Union Assurance and the Health Promotion Bureau of Sri Lanka have partnered together, in the hope of addressing this issue through a mental health awareness campaign.
At a time where citizens are losing incomes and loved ones, conditions attached to stigma, and discrimination have the potential to exacerbate, creating hesitation in seeking the help one may need; as they are afraid of how society may view circumstances. Therefore, Union Assurance aims to educate and help people through professionals in the field of mental health, together with the Health Promotion Bureau.
In a series of interviews conducted in service of this campaign, several professionals educate the public on the issue. To quote Dr. Suneth Rajawasan, a doctor who contracted the virus- ‘it is the uninfected privilege’. He says people get comfortable looking down upon neighbours who may have succumbed to sickness, and that too has an impact on a person’s mental wellbeing. Despite being physically ill, the patients and their families are shunned from society. In the same series Dr. Nayani Dharmakeerthi advises citizens to ‘contact their infected neighbours via phone to inquire about progress and wellbeing, because we are all in this together’. Professor Athula Sumathipala, who specializes in mental health, encourages the public stating- ‘Without getting swayed by misinformation, empower those around you to go on about their daily lives while adhering to government and health authority guidelines’.
Communication is key to awareness. Therefore, through these much-needed campaigns, Union Assurance will be able to give back to policyholders as well as the country, staying true to the slogan ‘Your life, Our Strength’. Partnering with a body such as the Health Promotion Bureau will extend campaign reach to all parts of Sri Lanka.