Volunteering in Sri Lanka on a Mental Health Placement

Chloe Holland Start Date: Oct 15, 2017 - End Date: May 2, 2018
  • Sri Lanka

My Travel Story

by: Chloe Holland Start Date: Oct 15, 2017 - End Date: May 2, 2018
Hello, I'm Chloe, a 2nd year Psychology student at the University of Birmingham. On the 23rd July 2018, I will be volunteering in Sri Lanka for 5 weeks on a Mental Health Placement organised by SLV.Global, in partnership with the SriLankan National Youth Services Council.

SLV.Global is an organisation created in 2010 by psychology graduates, who aim to focus on global mental health by offering volunteers the opportunity to gain invaluable psychology work experience in countries and communities that need extra support, such as Sri Lanka! This experience is incredibly important for me as I intend to continue at University after my first degree to study further in order to become a clinical psychologist.  The experience I will gain in completing this placement in Sri Lanka will help me build relevant practical, emotional and professional skills for the future.

Mental health services in Sri Lanka are scarce, as there's a lack of professional psychologists occupying the island and a high demand for psychiatric care. Roughly 5-10% of the population is believed to be suffering from a mental illness requiring medical attention, however, the most popular treatment for these conditions is pharmacological, rather than psychological. The community is continuing to heal from a 25-year old civil war, in addition to recovering from the destruction of the tsunami in 2004. These historical events have influenced the mental state of the population, increasing the prevalence of mental health disorders within the country. Sri Lanka had the 4th highest suicide rates globally according to World Health Organisation in 2014, therefore it's apparent that more mental health resources are needed to improve the well-being of SriLankan residents. This situation with mental health in Sri Lanka is the reason for my desire to work there, I believe that, while I'm gaining the experience I need, I will be contributing in the best possible way to that community.

During my time volunteering in Sri Lanka I will be participating in a variety of workshops, evolved around stimulating those with mental health disorders, by planning activities using sensory, music and creative therapies to engage with patients on a variety of wards in multiple institutions. In addition to volunteering in psychiatric units, I will be teaching English to children and young adults as well as working with special need children. I'll be offering my skills to help those in the SriLankan community who receive stigma due to their situational factors and attempt to improve the welfare of individuals. I will be living with other volunteers in a SriLankan household during my working week.

This work experience placement is voluntary and unpaid. I am fundraising money so that I can cover the placement fee, flights and vaccinations. I'll be taking part in the Ultra Ram 9km Run, even though I'm very unfit (which involves lots of mud and obstacles), to fundraise for my placement, in addition to other fundraising activities. I will also post updates on social media during my time in Sri Lanka about my experience volunteering with SLV.Global. If you believe in the importance of mental health then please donate. Any amount of money that you'd be willing to donate, big or small, would be greatly appreciated!
Chloe xx

Thank you for taking the time to read through my page!

(If you have any enquiries about my placement please email me at CXH666@student.bham.ac.uk or visit SLV.Global's website)


  • Sri Lanka