The Department of Psychiatry was established as a separate clinical department in 1988. Since then, the department has been involving in teaching psychiatry and related fields like behavioral science, neuroscience, psychopharmacology, forensic psychiatry and mental wellbeing, and other psychosocial aspects in general. Till now, the department’s clinical teaching has been mainly held at the university psychiatry inpatient unit at Base Hospital, Tellipalai.
The department involves in teaching medical students and allied health science students. It also functions as a training center for postgraduate trainees and foreign students who are on elective appointments. Apart from giving an opportunity to learn about the common psychiatric conditions and other mental health problems, the department is also providing a platform for the medical students and other trainees to have an opportunity to understand community-based psychiatry and psychosocial services.
The department has been involving in a number of local researches and collaborative studies. The department’s first professor, Prof. T. Ganeswaran involved in a number of research studies and his successor, Prof. Daya Somasundaram has raised the department’s research arena by his involvement in researches and publications on psychological trauma, psychosocial interventions, and other subjects. Currently, Prof. S. Sivayokan continues the legacy of the department.
From 2016, the subject psychiatry has become one of the final year subjects at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Jaffna, and the department also modified itself into a professorial clinical department. This professorial department and its single academic, the chair professor, is supported by a number of eminent psychiatrists.