My Great Adventure
I have been on both the Mental Health placement in Sri Lanka and the educational programme in India with SLV.Global and these experiences have both given me the confidence and skills which I needed in my current career as a mental health worker in the UK. I was able to learn about global mental health and its different approaches and treatments which have helped me reflect on how I work here in the UK but also how I can practice these techniques every day.
I feel I gained this confidence from my work experience in Sri Lanka by meeting all the amazing professionals and other volunteers along the way and listening to what inspired them to work in mental health or within special needs. Meeting these people really inspired me to carry on working in mental health when I returned home and it just made my passion grow even more and I managed to obtain a placement as an Assistant Forensic Psychologist which later lead to me working in acute adult mental health unit within the NHS.
Although, before I went on placement I remember being extremely nervous about travelling so far away but also working in such different environment to what I was used to. But I soon adjusted and loved every minute of it! I believe this was due to the support you have from the staff along the way and in country but also from all the other volunteers. I then soon grew a bug for learning about mental health across the world, which was what persuaded me to go on the Educational Programme in India and to also later work for SLV.Global in their London office. I now love working part-time in the London office as I get to help other aspiring individuals who may want to work within mental health or special needs and listening to what inspires them to want to progress their careers.
I feel emerging yourself in a new culture and putting yourself in challenging situations just makes you grow strength from strengths. I definitely gained more independent from the work experience and I feel this really prepared me for working within mental health when I returned home. I now find myself reflecting when I get home from work and thinking about different methods which I learnt about in India and how I could use these at work, such as mindfulness or meditation. As this is growing technique being used here in the UK for treating mental health. I have since had discussions at work with my colleagues on how we could incorporate these into our practice, which was something I would have never of done if I haven’t of gone to Sri Lanka and India.
I feel the most surprising thing I gained from the work experience was from the teaching projects. I had never worked with children before, so this gave me a whole new experience, but it also made my confidence grow. Having to stand in front of a class and to lead a lesson was challenging but I have found the skills are so transferable to my current job as a mental health worker. I now have the confidence to stand up and present workshops on mental health, as well as organising these sessions. It also opened up the path of working with younger individuals, which I would have never considered before.
Another valuable skills I gained from the work experience in Sri Lanka was working with such a wide range of different mental health issues. I feel I can now identify the difference between psychosis or bipolar in the current job and I feel this is due to having this experience in Sri Lanka. You are able to put that theory into practice.
Overall, I feel SLV.Global’s work experience gives you so many skills working within mental health and is definitely something I feel really proud of doing and to be still involved in!