Psychology undergraduates from the University of Liverpool, Rosie Zero and Lydia Cooke, travelled to Sri Lanka and Bali recently to undertake voluntary placements supporting people with mental health issues.
The two students were among almost 50 others from the University of Liverpool who have taken part in SLV.Global Mental Health Placements over the last year.
The organisation, which works in Sri Lanka, Bali and India, provides psychology students and graduates with the opportunity to gain practical psychology work experience abroad.
Image above: Lydia Cooke enjoying the scenery in Bali whilst volunteering with SLV.Global
Students who take part in the placements are trained and supported by local professionals to equip them with the skills to work in often challenging environments and under-resourced facilities. Rosie spent five weeks in Sri Lanka, whilst Lydia spent four weeks in Bali gaining hands-on mental health work experience whilst being immersed in a different culture.
Image left: Rosie Zero with fellow volunteers taking part in one of their projects in Sri Lanka
The aim of the SLV.Global projects is to promote positive mental health by boosting confidence, increasing self-esteem and improving key life skills through facilitating creative, cognitive, educational and physical sessions. Rosie and Lydia both took part in sessions to increase intellectual and social stimulation, as well as deliver much-needed human contact to individuals who, due to a lack of resources, are often treated with medication alone.
Commenting on the experience Rosie said: “From living in a small Sri Lankan community to working in a psychiatric unit with very limited resources, I loved all of it and the five weeks flew by!”
Lydia added: “SLV Bali was hands down the most amazing month of my life! The experience I gained over the last four weeks was so broad, from working with inpatients at the psychiatric hospital to teaching English classes for the children in my homestay village, and so rich due to the hands on nature of every project. I have also acquired invaluable social skills, through the use of non-verbal communication to overcome the volunteer-service user language barrier; organisational skills, in the planning and execution of every session; and independence, in travelling the island at weekends and gaining the confidence to comfortably engage and interact with service users and project staff alike.”
Image left: Lydia Cooke in Bali with SLV.Global
Over the past eight years, more than 5,000 psychology students have joined SLV.Global to gain the hands-on, cross-cultural experience necessary to get ahead in the increasingly competitive mental health sector.
SLV.Global are recruiting new team members for placements in Sri Lanka, Bali and India. If you are interested in getting involved please visit the website.