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:

  • Six outpatient clinics per week including one child clinic.
  • Inpatient care – including care for adolescents and nursing mothers.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Behavioral therapy.
  • Group therapy for substance abuse.
  • Peripheral clinics at Pannipitiya and Piliyandala.
  • Dementia center at “Mallika Home for the Aged” – a monthly clinical service for the care of dementia patients in the center.
  • Mental health awareness raising programmes – conducted at schools, MOH offices and within the hospital.
  • Publication of various information leaflets by the staff of the department.
  • Specialized consultancy services to the Ministry of Health, NGO’s and other organization.