SLV.India Mental Health Placement
Hi, thanks for requesting your SLV.Global Info Pack for our pilot Mental Health Placement in India! This placement is for anyone looking to expand their knowledge and experience of global mental health and who has a passion for working at grassroots level within the community.
This placement aims to give you as diverse an experience as possible in four weeks. From clinical to the classroom, your weekly projects will be varied and challenging, so expect to have your preconceptions challenged and to step out of your comfort zone. You’re in control here - in both the planning and executing of your sessions. Our team will always support you, but we’re counting on you to have the ideas, it’s your placement after all!
India has long since been a place where people go to “find themselves” and on our placement you’ll certainly find yourself in lots of interesting environments and challenging situations which will help prepare you for a future career in mental health. We can’t wait to meet you and we hope you let us know if there’s anything we can help you with.
WHAT DOES A PLACEMENT INVOLVE?
We’re proud to be the only organisation offering you the chance to gain so much experience in the sector as well as helping you collect a stamp or two on your passport. Not only will you work with a huge variety of service users, you’ve also got the opportunity to work with other like-minded people from all across the globe. Although it’s super-hard to quantify all you’ll get, here’s a start:
✔︎ At least 40 hours of hands-on experience
This is not a drill. Depending on how long you join us for you'll be gaining a HUGE amount of hands-on experience. All project sessions are planned by yourself and your team and you can get as creative as you like with your ideas. Push yourself, challenge your ideas, try new things.
✔︎ Training, talks and trips
Your whole first week is dedicated to training you up to work as successfully as possible in a totally new culture. Local NGOs and mental health workers, along with our team, give you all the tools you need to be successful working in India.
You'll have the chance to take part in weekly workshops on topics like Mental Health in India, Meditation for Mental Health, etc.
✔︎ Field trip with mental health professionals
There's also a field trip where you will join a community mental health team for the day to experience, first-hand, mental health treatment in another country and culture.
✔︎ An education in global mental health
This point cannot be overstated. Many of us come from an educational background where we have been taught to think that "West is best". However, this placement will open your eyes and your mind to other ways of looking at prevention and treatment of mental health concerns.
There is much we can learn from other approaches and methodologies and the best way to experience this is up close and in person. No mental health system is perfect, but knowing this and challenging your own ideas of what you think treatment should be and what it looks like is hugely valuable to not only you, but your future clients.
✔︎ Weekends off
Yup! You have every Friday afternoon to Sunday evening to explore the width and breadth of Southern India! I know we just said this isn't a holiday, but you'd be forgiven for thinking so if you've checked out our Instagram.
On this placement, each day is different and comes with its own set of unique opportunities. You’ll be able to sharpen your professional and personal skill set to help you get set for your future career in mental health. Enhance your empathy, ramp-up your resilience cultivate your compassion in incredible India.
Your seven weekly projects are as wide ranging as you can imagine. From working with children with hearing impairments to running stimulating activities for elderly service users with Dementia. From clinical to classroom experience this placement goes from one end of the spectrum to the other with one aim - to promote positive mental health.
As an organisation, our focus is on mental health, not mental illness. This means all projects aim to promote overall well being and increase confidence, feelings of accomplishment, self worth and self-esteem. We know prevention is better than cure, especially in developing countries where there is such an obvious care deficit for those with mental health concerns and specific needs. We want you to focus on how you can make a positive difference in the lives of others no matter the challenges the service users you work with might be facing.
Your projects are split into the following five categories:
+ Activity Support (AS)
These projects take place in a clinical or community setting. Here you’ll be expected to get creative and really think about how best to help individuals who are all at varying stages of their recovery. Focus on a particular skill like improving short-term memory and form an interactive activity around this.
+ English for Development (EFD)
These projects involve working with children in schools. English is a real commodity in India and you have the tools to help provide individuals with better career prospects and increased confidence just by speaking with your students! In addition to the practical side of English language teaching, there's also so much more you're doing.
When working in developing countries, seemingly simple, daily skills, which we take for granted, can often be overlooked, but should really be prioritised. According to a report conducted by the WHO, the skills often neglected in the developing world, but intrinsically linked to mental health are: decision-making, problem-solving, creative and critical thinking, effective communication, interpersonal skills, self-awareness and coping with emotions and stress.
In our experience, we have found that our EFD projects are a great opportunity for volunteers to role model healthy social habits and behaviours with the aim of further developing these skills amongst students and encouraging progression - both personally and professionally.
+ Children's Development (CD)
We partner with a number of after school clubs to provide extracurricular English lessons and engaging activities. Our aim is to be role models, but not caregivers to children who are often marginalised by poverty and circumstance.
+ Special Education Activity Support (SEAS)
Alongside the psychiatric facility, you'll work in a number of schools and initiatives for those with specific needs. With an average of 26% of inpatients who reside in UK psychiatric facilities displaying overlapping additional needs, like autism or a brain injury, this is most definitely a client group you should become familiar working with.
These projects are challenging, but will put your knowledge of developmental psychology to good use. You can use a combination of physical and mental activities to really unlock the creative potential of these service users.
+ Community Outreach (CO)
These projects take place in the local community and have been requested by local community members. These projects often invole working with the elderly and those who are destitute and isolated.
Workshops and Field Trip
Throughout your time you’ll not only work at seven weekly projects focusing on mental health, you’ll also get to learn from various local mental health professionals who are experts in their field. Expect workshops run by clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and even a guru on topics like Meditation for Mental Health, Early Adolescent Interventions and The History of Mental Health Treatment in India.
You’ll also have the unique opportunity to shadow a community mental health team for the day. Following along as they work at grassroots level aiming to reduce stigma, raise awareness and treat people with mental health issues with the dignity and care they deserve.
This placement beings in Bengaluru, at the stunning School of Ancient Wisdom where you’ll spend two days immersing yourself in the lush, green surroundings and learning all about mental health treatment in India. You’ll then make your way to Mysore, where you’ll be hosted by one of our partner NGOs for the duration of your placement. This accommodation is basic, but comfy and at the end of your first week you’ll head deep into the Indian jungle for a day of rafting, zip lining and bonding with your teammates.
Your accommodation, plus breakfast and dinner are all yours from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon, but weekends are all yours to check out what Southern India has to offer you! From bustling Bengaluru to the towering temples of heavenly Hampi, it’s all within your reach from magnificent Mysore!
Fees are determined by the type and length of placement you choose - please click on each heading for a full breakdown of what's included.
✔︎ Accommodation & Meals
You'll "live like a local" and be hosted by our NGO partners. Accommodation is basic, but comfy and available to you from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon. Your breakfast and dinner during the working week are also included. A yummy fresh curry after a day's work. What could be better?
Our incredible, experienced team will be there to support you the whole time and are on call 24/7.
✔︎ Training, Trips & Talks
All placements come with additional training, trips and talks given by local mental health professionals and practitioners. This is your chance to really get to understand mental health treatment in a different culture.
✔︎ Professional Reference
We are happy to proivide you with a reference upon completion of your placement. Our references have gone a long way to helping previous volunteers secure exciting career opportunites and you can see some of these success stories here.
✔︎ Certificate of Learning
To acknowledge your hard work and commitment throughout your placement we'll give you a certificate to formalise your experience.
✔︎ Adventure Break
At the end of your first week in India you'll head to the water where you can rafy, kayak and zipline into your first weekend in India!
From the airport to your accommodation and then to Mysore and Adventure Break. Any transport outside of your usual daily projects is included in your fees. Daily journies cost approximately .20p - .50p each way on a bus.
What’s Not Included?
Approximately £450 - £750 (depending on country of origin)
The E-Visa is £45 - £85 (depending on country of residence) and you'll apply for this yourself online. Before any application, please make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date.
✗ Travel Insurance
Safety first!! £30 - £70
✗ DBS or equivalent
Safeguarding our service users is paramount. Therefore all volunteers must provide a valid DBS, or equivalent, which costs £25 in the UK.
Please check with your doctor about recommended jabs/shots and remember to mention that you'll be working in a medical environment.
✗ Daily Buses / Tuk Tuks
Volunteers fund their own transport to and from projects roughly £1 - £2 a day
✗ Weekend/free time spending money
Volunteers find their own accommodation for Friday & Saturday nights, and this is an amazing chance to explore India! Hostels in India can be very reasonably priced - sometimes as little as £10 a night. You may also want to just pick up a few souvenirs or check into a stunning spa for the weekend, but whatever your budget, India remains incredibly affordable.
Step 1: Placement Acceptance Fee: £250
After your interview, if awarded a place on our team, a non-refundable Placement Acceptance Fee is required to secure your place, which is payable within a week of your placement offer.
|India Mental Health Placement|
* Peer Mentors are required to join the team for 12 weeks and eligible for a further reduction of Placement Fees
Did you know you can fundraise for your placement? Have a look at our Fundraisers' Hall of Fame for some inspiration from past volunteers who have successfully raised the funds!
WHY WE’RE UNIQUE
Despite this being a pilot placement, we’ve been on the scene for a while. We pride ourselves on being one-offs. Sure, there are other voluntary organisations out there, but none with an exclusive focus on global mental health and none as well respected within the local community. If you're going to invest your time and money, do it with the best!
But don't just take our word for it. Check out reviews from pervious team members on Facebook and Reviews.co.uk or check out our Partners page to see the numerous international universities who trust us to provide their students with the valuable experience needed to set them apart in such a competitive field.
We don't mean to brag, but we are really proud to be different from many other voluntary organisations in all these ways!
+ We’re the only ones 🙋🏽♂️
We are the only organisation that can offer this amount of hands-on experience for those looking to pursue a career in mental health. We deliver what we promise and, if you don't want to take our word for it, then check out over 600 reviews on our Facebook page alone.
+ We’re focused on sustainability 🌍
We are focused on providing an ethical experience for volunteers. Unlike other organisations we don't take jobs from the local population and only work at pre-existing initiatives to bolster support for service users. We also support training programs within the country to help increase the skill set of the local workers.
+ We prioritise experience, not a holiday 🏨
No #selfies, no saviours just socially conscious professionals.
+ We’re knowledgeable 🦉
We were founded by psychology students and graduates and we are invested in every step of your placement. The people you speak to on the phone, and who wrote this very pack have all been on placement and know the challenges and the triumphs of working at the exact projects you are.
+ We’re responsible 💁🏽
We train you well. It is in our best interest to send only skilled volunteers to work on our placements.
No matter your current skill level, working in a new culture is a whole new experience, and no matter your background, it’s important you be prepared to work sensitively within the culture, which is why the first week you are in country is dedicated to training.
The majority of our team are also local, which is so important to us and means that we're investing in the people in the countries where we work.
+ We’re authentic 💯
On our placements you’ll live “like a local.” We want you to have a bona fide, immersive Indian experience. You'll be hosted by a local NGO, eat traditional food and dress modestly despite the heat. We hope this is one of the reasons you’re looking at joining us and not browsing all-inclusive holidays to the Caribbean.
+ We learn as much as we contribute 👨🏽🎓
Our volunteers gain as much from this experience as they give, sometimes more. Leave your Western expectations and ideals at the airport and open yourself up to an incredibly enlightening cross-cultural experience that can open your mind in ways you may have never expected. You’ll be glad you did!
+ We support you the whole way 👯
We have an exceptional team who are always available to help with any questions you may have before you depart and we guarantee you’ll only ever speak to people who have volunteered with SLV.Global before.
Of course we’re always there for you once you are in country too. There’s an awesome support system available and, as we mentioned, over 70% of our team is local. No one knows the country like these guys, so once you arrive we’ve got you covered and are on call 24/7.
+ What is a pilot placement?
A pilot placement is just another way of saying it's a new adventure. We've worked really hard to source the most incredible projects, staff and accommodation for your time in India. Yes, it's new, but that's also an opportunity for you to put your stamp on this once in a lifetime experience. How many people can say they were on one of our founding teams? Not many, but you can.
+ Is it safe?
We would never send volunteers anywhere the FCO didn't advise, as your safety is our top priority. From the time you're picked up at the airport to the end of your placement we have a great support system in place.
Our in-country teams are always there 24/7 to offer support and guidance. The London office is also in constant communication with the in country teams throughout the placement.
You will also be living and working with other volunteers - everyone stays in the same accommodation and travels in groups to projects. The advantage of all volunteers staying in the same accommodation is that you will always have plenty of people to plan travel with, which means you’ll never be alone.
+ What's the accommodation like?
Everyone is hosted in the same premises by our NGO partners. You will share a room and bathroom with a maximum of two other people. There are Western toilet facilities and we've just had showers installed in all rooms. WOOT!
You will be located quite centrally in the city of Mysore, close to all the necessary amenities. There is a supermarket and a hospital next door, and places to get lunch (or ice-cream!) are only a short walk away.
+ What's the food like?
During the working week we provide your breakfast and dinner, which is traditional, but substantial. Indian food is full of flavour and we do cater for dietary requirements.
+ What can I do at the weekend?
Weekends are your time to chill out and self-care. You work hard all week, so this time is for you to explore magical Mysore or head a bit further afield on a bus to wonderous Wayanad or heavenly Hampi. India is HUGE and gorgeous, so make the most of your time there!
+ How can I stay connected to friends and family?
You won’t have WiFi in the accommodation, however all volunteers must buy a local SIM card on arrival at the airport. This will allow you to stay in constant contact with the staff team and fellow volunteers, and you will also have data to be able to chat to your family abroad via WhatsApp or Skype. Data can easily and cheaply be topped up.
+ How do I wash my clothes?
This is where the "living like a local" thing really comes into play! In India it's most common to handwash clothes in a river using rocks, so washing machines and laundromats are scarce. You will really have to get back to basics and hand-wash the majority of your clothes unless you stay somewhere at the weekend with laundry facilities.
+ How do we travel to and from projects?
You'll take advantage of India's epic public bus system and/or tuk tuks. You will always travel in groups, and our staff will help you get used to things in your first few weeks.
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