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MENTAL HEALTH PROJECTS ABROAD

Plan My Gap Year offers affordable and trusted mental health projects abroad in vibrant Ghana and the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. Whether you’re working towards a qualification or simply want more insight into this area of healthcare, these projects are perfect for those looking for work experience in this field.

PMGY programs start on two dedicated start dates every month throughout the year and participants can join us from 2-12 weeks. Volunteers are provided with an extensive pre-departure support service, airport pickup, orientation, meals, accommodation, project transportation and local support throughout.

The majority of participants are first-time solo travellers, therefore safety and support is our top priority to ensure you have a positive volunteering experience.

GHANA MENTAL HEALTH & PSYCHOLOGY VOLUNTEERS

Designed for those currently studying mental health or psychology, this is an opportunity to gain insight and awareness within a hospital based setting.

FROM 465 USD

2-12 WEEKS

MORE INFO

SRI LANKA MENTAL HEALTH & PSYCHOLOGY VOLUNTEERS

Using a combination of lectures, meditations, consultations and community projects, further your awareness of mental health in a new culture.

FROM 300 USD

1-12 WEEKS

MORE INFO

WHO VOLUNTEERS WITH US

PMGY Mental Health Volunteering abroad on a University student elective on the PMGY Gap Year Volunteer Abroad Programs
World map showing PMGY mental health volunteer projects in Africa, Asia & South America

WHY DO MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEERING ABROAD WITH PMGY?

Most Affordable – PMGY’s programs are accessible to everyone who wants to make a difference, through low fees and high-impact projects.

 

Best Support – Our international and local teams provide extensive around the clock services to assist you every step of your PMGY adventure.

 

Safety Prioritised – With safety a PMGY number-1 priority, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe and structured as possible.

 

Extraordinary Experiences – With PMGY, you have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in amazing cultural and travel experiences, ensuring you leave with unforgettable memories.

 

Friendships for Life – Your PMGY experience not only opens up a doorway for new experiences and exciting memories, but also life-long friendships when meeting new people from around the world.

MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEERING ABROAD PROJECTS

GHANA MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEERS

The mental health volunteer in Ghana placement is designed to provide an insight into how psychiatric services operate within Ghana. PMGY’s Ghana volunteer programs provide a once in a lifetime cultural experience. The mental health and psychology program provides international volunteers with a unique learning experience. Most noteworthy, participants will establish a deeper understanding of the history and developments of mental healthcare in Ghana.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

This project is designed to provide insight into mental health issues for those currently studying mental health or psychology. More specifically, it provides a platform to increase awareness and learning around psychiatric services in Ghana. This extends to developing an understanding of the history and developments of mental health in Ghana.

 

In general, volunteers in Ghana work at the project Monday-Friday for around 3-4 hours every day from 9am-1pm. Usually, on this mental health volunteer abroad program, you will take lunch at the project. Use your free time at the Volunteer House to plan questions for the days ahead.

 

Transport to and from the mental health volunteer abroad project is not included in your Program Fee. Consequently, volunteers will usually travel by public transport, but may also choose to split the cost of a taxi. Our local team will show you how to get to and from your volunteer project location during the orientation period.

 

Most noteworthy, heavy traffic and poor road infrastructure can be commonplace within Kumasi. Subsequently, the journey to the volunteer project can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour upwards from the Volunteer House.

 
 

SRI LANKA MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEERS

As a mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka, you can gain psychology work experience and learn about mental health in the developing world. This program is designed for those currently studying in the field of psychology or mental health. Meanwhile, providing an opportunity to gain insight and awareness within a range of settings in the healthcare system. The mental health needs of Sri Lanka have continued to increase in recent decades. However, mental health services have struggled to respond to such developments.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Your main role as a mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka is to learn and experience their mental health system, procedures and culture. Subsequently, you will be observing how this may differ to the experience you have at home. The project timetable will vary each day, including a range of activities and placement settings, combining consultation observations, lectures, meditations and local community project work.

 

At the start of your mental health experience, every volunteer in Sri Lanka will receive a workbook. This can be completed each day as you go through your psychology project journey. There will be questions to test your knowledge on each different section of the mental health experience, encouraging proactive learning and engagement across your placement.

 

Placement Timetable – As a mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka, your schedule and timings will vary each day. Usually, you will be at your placement for 2-5 hours per day from Monday-Friday, ranging between 8am-6pm. Depending on the placement, you may travel by tuk-tuk or private car. Journey times will range from 5 minutes to the local schools and hospitals to possibly an hour for the institutions in Colombo.

 

It is advised to note that the mental health & psychology program is always changing and this is just a sample schedule. Therefore, it is likely to run differently when you volunteer in Sri Lanka.

 

The schedule usually includes one placement per day. Mental health volunteer abroad participants may be split into teams for an equal chance to experience and participate in a range of >volunteer work in Sri Lanka. In particular, this is relevant when there are higher numbers.

 

The day by day breakdowns here are examples of typical morning and afternoon activities:

 

Monday – Galle District Hospital & Lectures & Seminars
Tuesday – Community Setting & Galle District Hospital
Wednesday – National Council for Mental Health & Community Setting
Thursday – National Institute of Mental Health & Galle District Hospital
Friday – Community Setting & Galle District Hospital

 

As Sri Lanka is a developing country their psychiatric facilities reflect this. Participants on the mental health & psychology program are advised to note that the project and schedule availability may be limited from time to time. This is due to unexpected factors outside of PMGY’s control. For instance, it is commonly associated with the hospital setting of the placement where doctors can strike at late notice. In addition, the consultants can be absent from the hospital when expected with no advanced notice.

 

In such situations, PMGY will do their best to arrange alternative project work for each mental health volunteer in Sri Lanka. However, this will likely be outside of the hospital setting for that day and maybe at another form of community program we operate.

FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INSURANCE

Flights

 

During these times of global uncertainty, it is really important that you book your flights via a respected and reputable company. This provides you with more flexibility and security in the event your plans change at a later date. We recommend you book your flights through the airline’s direct website and to re-confirm your flight details with them 72 hours before you fly.

 

Your arrival airport and date are dependent on the specific destination you are joining us in:

 

🇬🇭 Kumasi – To join the mental health volunteering abroad project on our Ghana volunteer program, you should book your flights to Kotoka International Airport on the Sunday start date. The airport code is ACC. Volunteers in Ghana can arrive at any time on their designated Sunday start date.

 

🇱🇰 Ambalangoda – To join the mental health volunteering abroad project Sri Lanka volunteer program, you should book your flights to Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo on the Saturday start date. The airport code is CMB. Most volunteers can arrive at any time on their designated Saturday start date.

 

Travel Insurance

 

Having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. It is therefore mandatory for all of our international participants to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. Although most of our participants experience a smooth ride during their time overseas, occasionally things may go wrong. Having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

We recommend you put your travel insurance policy in place as soon as possible once you have confirmed your place with PMGY. This ensures that you have an activated policy in place that may provide some protection for your trip in the event of an unforeseen cancellation (circumstance-dependent).

 

You should make sure that any insurance policy covers you to travel with any international restrictions currently in place. For example, the majority of insurance providers will not provide cover in the event of the FDCO advising against “all but essential travel”.

 

Our friends at Battleface offer a specialist product that is valid in countries under FCDO or government non-essential travel advisories. For COVID-19, Battleface provides medical expenses cover for travellers between the age of 18-59. Every plan includes 24/7 Emergency Travel and Medical Assistance services.

 

For more information about Battleface, visit their website click here

 

Battleface is provided by Tangiers Insurance Services Limited, a UK insurance intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Tangiers Underwriting Services SRL, a Belgian mandated underwriter registered with the Authority of Financial Markets and Services and Battleface Insurance Services LLC, a US licensed insurance producer. The details provided on this webpage are for information only. Always read the description of cover contained within your policy to ensure it is suitable for your needs.

PRE-DEPARTURE SUPPORT

Our International Team will work hard to provide extensive levels of support in the build-up to your trip. From our online chat service to email support and telephone conversations, our team are always ready to help. All international volunteers with PMGY will receive a Volunteer Handbook. This detailed hand guide will provide you with all you need to know in the build-up to your trip. From visa guidance to suggested packing lists, this will be the ultimate guide, helping you plan for your volunteer trip abroad.

 

We have Facebook groups for each of our volunteer destinations. Here you can find members of our international and local teams, as well as past, present and future volunteers. These pages, therefore, provide a great forum for volunteers to network, share experiences and community updates year-on-year.

 

Sometimes it can be difficult to picture yourself abroad without yet being there. We, therefore, do our best to further manage expectations before you arrive through a variety of informative and action-packed videos on our PMGY Vimeo channel. These clips help provide you with a visual perspective of what you can expect during your time volunteering with us. Our webinars are not to be missed either. Running on selected Tuesdays, at 4pm UK time, our International Team provides invaluable advice for your upcoming trip. Each webinar covers something different. Our pre-departure webinar covers all of the essentials you need to know and do before joining us abroad. Our program preparation webinar is more project-specific, with advice and information for the time you will spend on placement. Finally, our safety webinar offers you some top tips on how to manage your safety and wellbeing across the pond. For those who are simply interested in learning more about PMGY, our team also run an introductory webinar. This provides an introduction to the volunteer organisation, our background, goals and volunteer opportunities overseas.

PROJECT LOCATION & DURATION

🇬🇭 Kumasi – Our Ghana volunteer program is located in Kumasi, in central Ghana. It is Ghana’s second-biggest city, located around 6 hours away from the country’s capital Accra. It is a bustling region with so much going on! The surrounding area is made up of rolling hills and rural areas, with a much more laid back approach in life.

 

🇱🇰 Ambalangoda – Our renovation Sri Lanka volunteer program is based in Ambalangoda, on the south-west coast of Sri Lanka. It is approximately 2.5 hours away from Colombo Airport. Ambalangoda is a quaint ocean-side town. It is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks.

PMGY MENTAL HEALTH VOLUNTEERING ABROAD LOCAL TEAMS

PMGY’s mental health volunteering abroad projects are run by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams. All staff have been fully vetted by our International Team. The committed local community network provides the structure for your stay with us on a mental health volunteering abroad project. Our local team will arrange your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support. Our team provides a great framework for you to enjoy a unique volunteering experience with us on a mental health volunteering abroad project.

ORIENTATION

When you arrive onto your specific mental health volunteering abroad program, you will receive an orientation from your in-country team. This day will usually be broken down into two components. The first portion will usually be dedicated to all the theoretical aspects, from ‘dos and don’ts’, to safety aspects, project information and team introductions. The remainder of the day is usually used to introduce you to the local area. The local team will teach you how to locate every essential you may need during your time. They will also be able to help you arrange your money and a local SIM-card. Please note that the exact itinerary of the orientation will vary from country-to-country.

SAFETY

If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect. When anticipating their time overseas, many international volunteers (and their loved ones) are often concerned about safety and security. Although we can never guarantee volunteer experiences to be 100% trouble-free, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe as possible. Every program that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a director of PMGY. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation and worked on the projects. Through our frequent visits and daily communications, we have built strong, trusting relationships with our local staff.

 

In the unlikely event that something was to happen, volunteers have various layers of support available to them:

 

• PMGY Local Team
• Project Staff
• PMGY International Team

 

Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge volunteers’ experiences. With the help of volunteer feedback, we are able to continually improve our placements and volunteer opportunities. Security and safety are frequently assessed as part of this. We ask our participants to raise any concerns with our local or International Team. This ensures that these can be addressed and/or resolved as readily and appropriately as possible.

 

Through pre-departure and in-country guidance, we do our best to prepare our international volunteers for their time abroad. All participants are provided with a comprehensive safety briefing during their orientation period. Our local teams will go through everything from project introductions, to emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. During this period, our team also provide participants with a full list of the important contact numbers.

 

Listed below are some general safety tips:

 

• Be modest with the amount of jewellery worn in public
• Do not drink tap water
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents can occur when is confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night
• Use reputable transport only. Our local staff will be able to recommend some during orientation
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high-risk areas for pickpockets and thieves
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers

TRANSPORT TO PROJECT

🇬🇭 Kumasi – On the Ghana volunteer program, transport to and from the mental health volunteering abroad project is not included in your Program Fee. All volunteer projects in Ghana will require you to take public transport every day. Our local coordinators will introduce you to local transport methods during your orientation and the first couple of days at the project. We will also indicate how much you should be paying for transport so that you do not get ripped off. Public transport in Ghana is cheap and easy to use. Most noteworthy, heavy traffic and poor road infrastructure can be commonplace within Kumasi. Subsequently, the journey to the volunteer project can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour upwards from the Volunteer House.

 

🇱🇰 Ambalangoda – On the Sri Lanka volunteer program in Ambalangoda, the cost of your project transport is included in your Program Fee. Your mental health volunteering abroad project transport will usually be by tuk-tuk, but sometimes by private car. Journeys can usually take anywhere from 10–45 minutes each way. However, this will ultimately depend on which project you join as a volunteer in Sri Lanka.

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER ABROAD REQUIREMENTS

PMGY welcome volunteers of all nationalities and backgrounds onto our mental health volunteer opportunities abroad. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit. All volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. You do not need to speak the local language. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us will go a long way!

 

All participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Our mental health volunteering abroad projects may require you to be studying a relevant degree. You may also be required to submit additional documentation before participation begins in-country.

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay your Registration Fee of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.

 

Please check out our Application Process for more info on how to join as on a mental health volunteering abroad program with PMGY.