Department of Psychiatry – History

In the mid sixties Prof. Stanley Dissanayake the Dean at the time took the initiative to give effect to the long standing proposal to establish an academic department of Psychiatry. Dr.C. P. Wijesinghe was appointed initially as a Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry attached to the Department of Medicine in 1969 and in 1970 to the Chair of the newly established Department of Psychiatry.  Damani Attanayake with the support staff established the Faculty office in the present premises. D. Dedigama charge nurse played a key role in the establishment of the clinical unit at the General Hospital premises in 1970 in the building earlier used by the Veterinary Science Department.

The first Professor of Psychiatry was  Prof. Channa Wijesinghe and after his resignation in 1975, Prof. S.A.W. Dissanayake was appointed to the Chair in 1976. An academic post for child psychiatry was created in 1978. Dr. Nalaka Mendis who joined the university in 1974 was appointed as the Head in 1982 and later to the Chair in 1989. Drs. Diyanath Samarasinghe and Hemamali Perera joined the department in mid seventies and mid eighties. The present academic and the support staff joined the department later. In 1983 with the assistance of Professors D. Attygalle and Prof. T. Viswanathan additional space was found for the academic staff in the new building.