Sarath (not his real name) is a 58-year-old Sri Lankan man who works as a labourer and carpenter.


Nalini (not her real name) is a 22-year- old housewife with a young daughter. Two months before we met her, she had drunk from a bottle of pesticide in a bout of sudden anger towards her husband. At the time, she had not thought of her child or husband and had not wanted to die.She wanted her husband to know how hurt she was by his words.

She was admitted to hospital after drinking the pesticide. The nurses and doctors had cared for her and she was discharged after psychiatric assessment and help.


Geetha (not her real name) is a 19-year- old housewife who has been married previously. During her first marriage, she had had a child, now 1 ½ years old. Unfortunately, that marriage had not worked out and so she and her husband had divorced.

She has married again and now lives with her second husband’s family. However, her husband does not want her to work; her mother-in-law cooks and cares for the house, so she has little to do. Her 2nd husband had become angry with her and hit her. She had therefore tried to harm herself by drinking a pesticide stored in the house.