Suicide is an important public health problem in Sri Lanka. Worldwide, there has been a call to reduce the substantial mortality and morbidity burden associated with suicide and suicidal behaviour, through national and local strategies. In responding to this need, under the Presidency of Dr. Anula Wijesundere, the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) in 2019 convened the Expert Committee on Suicide Prevention (initially named as the Suicide Prevention Task Force of the SLMA) to identify solutions. The mandate of the Expert Committee includes identification of factors that contribute to high rate of suicide and self-harm in Sri Lanka, developing policy documents on the prevention of suicide and self-harm and providing a framework to address long-term issues, as well as identifying relevant stakeholders and advocating for preventive measures.
During initial years the SPTF was chaired by Senior Professor Samudra Kathriarachchi and Dr. Lakmi Seneviratne and Dr. Ruwan Ferdinando served as the Secretary and Convener for year 2019. The inaugural members include Dr Anula Wijesundere, Prof. Thilini Rajapakse, Dr. Champika Wickramasinghe, Dr. Jayamal de Silva, Dr Madhava Gunasekera, Dr Sudath Samaraweera, Mr T. Suveendran, Dr. Sajeewa Ranaweera, Dr. Kapila Jayaratne, Dr. Asanka Ratnayaka and Dr. Prabath Wickrama.