The Department of Psychiatry was established in February 1996. The academic department is situated within the Faculty premises while the Professorial Unit is located at the Colombo South Teaching Hospital.

The Psychiatry curriculum is designed to produce doctors who will be able to consider psychological, social and psychiatric aspects of patient care, in addition to the physical aspect when making important management decisions in a variety of clinical settings.

In Phase I of the MBBS curriculum, students are introduced to communication skills, concepts of mental health and relevant aspects of psychology, sociology in the Personality & Professional Development Stream.

Training in Phase II includes lectures on psychiatric disorders and their management and clinical training. The duration of clinical training at this stage is 4 weeks, of which 1 week at the National Institute of Mental Health, 2 weeks at Base Hospital, Homagama and one week at selected community centers (non-clinical settings) including ‘Dayamina’ (day center for differently abled children and young adults), ‘Women – in – Need’, the elderly care at Helpage, and the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) (both rehabilitation centre and drug research laboratory).

Final year training involves lectures, tutorials and six weeks of clinical training at the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, University Psychiatry Unit.

The students receive exposure to a wide range of services offered by the multi-disciplinary team of the unit including liaison psychiatry, child psychiatry, general adult psychiatry, psycho-geriatrics, community services and substance abuse.


To provide training to undergraduates, postgraduates and allied disciplines, provide services of the highest quality to the public and to facilitate research in psychiatry & in allied disciplines

Participation in Undergraduate Training Programmes

  • MBBS
  • B.Sc. Nursing
  • B Pharmacy

Participation in Postgraduate Training Programmes

  • MD Psychiatry
  • Diploma in Psychiatry
  • MD Medicine
  • MD Community Medicine
  • MD Family Medicine
  • MD Venereology
  • M.Phil. in Clinical Psychology

Other Training Programmes

The department conducts an external course of diploma in counseling. This is the first programme of this nature, initiated by a Medical Faculty in Sri Lanka, at the end of which the diploma holders are able to practice as a counselor.

Teaching Activities

The main teaching unit is ‘Mana Suwa Piyasa’ the psychiatry unit at the Colombo South Teaching Hospital. The department conducts the following teaching activities for undergraduates and postgraduates:

  • Ward Round Teaching
  • Clinic Based Teaching
  • Ward Classes
  • Tutorials
  • Lectures in Phase II of the Curriculum

Assessment methods

  • Continuous assessment
    A MCQ paper is held at the end of term 8 to assess the knowledge gained from the academic lectures in psychiatry.
  • Log book viva
    This is held at the end of the fourth year clinical appointment where the knowledge gained from it is tested.
  • Mini Observed Clinical Assessment (MOCE)
    At the end of the Professorial appointment the clinical knowledge gained is tested by two Stations.
  • Final MBBS examination
    Theory knowledge is assessed by 50 MCQs and 6 SEQs. Clinical knowledge by a single long case.


The academic department is located within the 6th Floor, Phase IV building of the Faculty.

The Professorial Unit at Colombo South Teaching Hospital is the ‘Mana Suwa Piyasa’ (Ward 33) Psychiatry unit, a unique purpose built unit that aims to provide holistic care to the public. The unit consists of male and female wards, two seclusion rooms and a geriatric unit, with a total bed-strength of 25, ECT suite and occupational therapy unit. A day centre is functioning separately for rehabilitation purposes and carer education programmes within the hospital premises.

Services to the Community

The following services are provided by the University Psychiatry Unit of the Colombo South Teaching Hospital:

1. The Department of Psychiatry extends its services to the local community through a comprehensive network comprising 4 new patient clinics and 6 follow-up clinics. Recognizing diverse needs, specialized care is offered through a dedicated clinic tailored for senior citizens, a specifically designed clozapine clinic and substance use prevention. These provisions aim to elevate patient care by ensuring convenience and addressing individual requirements.

Embracing a holistic approach, our services cater not only to those within our immediate vicinity but also attract patients from far-flung districts seeking comprehensive and personalized mental health care. The commitment to holistic care underscores our dedication to providing inclusive and accessible services to all individuals in need, regardless of geographical boundaries.

2. Inpatient care – including care for adolescents and nursing mothers.

3. Inpatient Care at Comanasuwapyasa Ward 33 comprises a 20-bed unit featuring separate sections for male, female, geriatric, perinatal, and child care. Additionally, the unit houses an occupational therapy division, a psychiatric social worker unit, community psychiatry nurse’s unit and a distinct day centre catering to outpatient needs with a range of activities. The environment is characterized by its serene, peaceful, and welcoming atmosphere

Empowering Slow-Learning Students: Colombo South Professional Clinic Staff Volunteer on Saturdays, Prioritizing Training of mother in child care is Essential.

Fund rising activities

Soap making activity on 17th May 2023.

Sale on 27th March 2023

4. The Occupational Therapy Unit, operated by two occupational therapists in conjunction with the day centre, provides comprehensive care. Ward patients undergo assessments and receive rehabilitation services during their stay, while the day centre offers a variety of activities and programs for outpatients and their families. This setup allows caregivers a respite while dropping off patients at the day centre. The centre maximizes time by engaging patients in activities that enhance memory, skills, and cognitive functions, catering even to slow learners among children.

On Saturdays, doctors volunteer their time with utmost dedication to educate these children, employing role-playing techniques to instruct parents on effective teaching methods. Workshops are also conducted for dementia caregivers and those caring for mentally ill patients.

The Occupational Therapy Unit strives for self-sustainability through income-generating activities such as organizing tri-annual fairs and selling handmade products. These products range from soap-making to knitting, crafting pillow covers, bed sheets, and cards. This initiative aims to support the unit’s operational needs through the proceeds earned from these entrepreneurial endeavors.

5. Recognizing the extensive and diverse nature of substance abuse in our area, the unit has established a specialized clinic dedicated to addressing alcohol, heroin, cannabis, and cocaine addiction on Tuesday afternoon. This clinic operates under the supervision of experienced doctors committed to preventing substance abuse. They collaborate closely with local law enforcement officers, engaging in community correction services and rehabilitation while offering advice on substance use-related issues.

In addition to intervention measures, the unit conducts preventive community programs aimed at curbing substance abuse. Staff members actively participate in these programs, promoting awareness and education to prevent substance abuse within the community.

6. At Mallika Homes, the care and assistance for dementia patients are overseen by a department that has been providing these services for over 15 years. This department is involved in extensive training sessions, offering advice, implementing behavioural management strategies, and conducting regular monthly visits to cater to the needs of dementia patients. Their commitment extends to ensuring comprehensive care and support for individuals coping with dementia within the facility.

7. Community education serves a dual purpose: not only does it empower society as a whole, but it also fosters empathy and understanding towards individuals facing psychiatric illnesses. The mental wellbeing programs are designed with the aim of empowering staff members, enabling them to detect early signs and symptoms. This proactive approach greatly benefits numerous patients by facilitating early intervention and support.

8. Recognizing that children are the cornerstone of our future, the staff of our department actively engages in community education, specifically focusing on school children in the Western Province. This effort involves close collaboration with the Department of Zonal Education and the Ministry of Education. Our programs concentrate on teaching students various crucial topics such as mental wellbeing, study skills, stress management, and advocating against substance abuse.

On a weekly basis, the department conducts a minimum of 2-4 school programs. These sessions aim to empower students with essential knowledge and skills crucial for their overall development. Additionally, our department conducts mental health awareness programs not only within schools but also at MOH offices and within the hospital premises, ensuring widespread dissemination of information and support regarding mental health.”

9. Mental health awareness programme for the staff members at Colombo South Teaching Hospital.

Mental health awareness programme for Montessori teachers at Moratuwa and Ratmalana.

10. Annual Staff Training at Colombo South Teaching Hospital: Empowerment Through Education: Academic members lead annual training sessions, empowering staff members,  at  clombo south teaching hospital along with Community Psychiatry Nurses, and Psychiatric Social Workers.  The training aims to enhance communication skills among staff, fostering better patient care and interactions with patients.

11. Mental health awareness programme for senior citizens at Ratmalana YMBA 22nd October 2023 with collaboration of AG office.

12. Mental health day activitiesThe Mental Health Day celebration hosted a program by WOW Society and Carrier Guidance Unit. The Department of Psychiatry served as resource persons, leading a panel discussion and delivering a lecture for school and university students, along with stakeholders from diverse organizations.

13. Publication of various information leaflets by the staff of the department.

14. Specialized consultancy services to the Ministry of Health, NGO’s and other organization.

15. services provided as a Board of directors of the alcohol and information center (ADIC) board from 2020-2023
Involved in policy making, research and advisory in related to alcohol prevention

Services provided for the police hospital

The Department of Psychiatry at Colombo South Teaching Hospital has provided services to Narahenpita’s Police Hospital for nearly two decades. Their collaboration involves bi-weekly clinics and counseling sessions for nationwide police officers and their families. They extend liaison services to all Police Hospital wards and offer inward care at Colombo South Teaching Hospital. They manage recruitment assessments, issue reports, ensure suitability, and aid medical boards. Adhering to global guidelines, they improve counseling skills and train officers at child and women desks in multiple districts. Collaborating with the Ministry of Health, they influence screening policy-making for police officers and extend their services to screen and treat officers in the Western Province. Emphasizing mental wellness, the current Director is deeply committed to expanding outreach mental health programs across various districts.

16. Webinars and media programmes
Collaboration with other faculties and schools on mental health day activities.

Inspira 2023  10.10.2023

Webinar series done by the WOW society is supported by the Department of Psychiatry.

Public Education

What is mental health

Social anxiety


Post partum psychiatric illness


Stress management


Video | Facebook

Building resilience through inclusive diversity – Sanyuktha live show in ITN 14.06.2023

Sexual disorders and sex education. Sanyuktha live show in ITN 12.07.2023

Past Events

Management of alcohol withdrawal for medical officers

Siyatha TV – mental health

Mental wellbeing during covid pandemic

World mental health day webina 2019

Facebook Live | Facebook

Inspira 23

Inspira 23