Tilly's Advanced Mental Health Placement - Sri Lanka - Aug19

Tilly Skipper Start Date: Jan 27, 2019 - End Date: Jul 26, 2019
  • Sri Lanka

My Travel Story

by: Tilly Skipper Start Date: Jan 27, 2019 - End Date: Jul 26, 2019
A bit about me…

By June, I will have completed the second year of my undergraduate degree in Applied Psychology and Sociology at the University of Brighton. As placement is not an option for my course, I was eager to gain some relevant hands-on experience before graduating. I recently spent five months volunteering for Mind in Brighton and Hove at a local hospital where I observed a range of support systems in place for the service users aimed to improve their mental health and wellbeing. This ranged from clinical support and regular GP interaction to the advocacy support service operated by Mind, but also included a variety of group activities such as baking, sports, art and crafts etcetera.

Witnessing such a variety of support made me consider countries who are less advantaged and rely heavily on pharmacological treatment for mental health. With this in mind, I decided to apply for a four-week placement based in Sri Lanka to be completed in the Summer of 2019 and was successful in receiving a place.

What am I doing?

I will be volunteering through SLV Global – a company founded in 2010 by Lucy Nightingale, a psychology graduate from the University of Manchester, and Yasintha Rathnayake, a youth worker in Sri Lanka  – who made it their goal to work in disadvantaged countries where mental health resources are scarce, to provide support, education, and activities targeted at improving the wellbeing of the local community while tackling the stigma that still surrounds mental health.

Why Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is the destination of the first ever SLV Global placement, and it has been a continued success ever since. One of the main reasons I have chosen to volunteer in Sri Lanka is due to the lack of psychologists and mental health resources available as a result of not too distant events in the country’s history, such as the 2004 Tsunami and the lasting effects of the civil war. Due to this, pharmacological treatment is the primary (and sometimes only) option available to those suffering from mental health difficulties. The voluntary work I will be undertaking will include a variety of workshops and activities aimed to provide a more sustainable form of treatment, with less of a pharmacological focus. I will be training and working alongside local professionals to ensure that the resources we deliver are of the best possible standard for the community.

Funding my placement

I will be leaving to begin my placement on the 5th of August 2019 and therefore have a deadline of the 10th of June to fundraise as much as possible! The total cost of my placement is £1,550 which does not include flights, visas, insurance, or vaccinations. The reason flights and the other costs mentioned are not included is so that the placement fees instead can be used to fund talks and training sessions necessary to deliver interventions including: developing English skills to improve career prospects and boost confidence, working with children, special education activity support for those with specific needs such as autism or brain injuries, and community outreach programmes – to increase the wellbeing throughout the community.

 In addition, up to 15% of each of SLV Global’s placement funds go towards their charity branch which supports grassroots organisations in the countries in which they work, to ensure such interventions can continue.

Anything that I do not raise through fundraising, I will be covering myself - so any donations that can be made will make a huge difference!

Thank you all in advance for any contributions and support offered – it is greatly appreciated!

  • Sri Lanka