Psychology volunteering is a great way for psychology students and recent graduates to gain relevant experience in the sector before you are experienced enough to obtain a role with a salary. This means that for many, a part time job in retail or customer service is necessary to supplement your income. But don't let this put you off, it is fairly common for organisations to hire their volunteers once they prove themselves to be assets.
When looking for a psychology volunteering opportunity it's important to cast a wide net. Searching for the keyword "psychology" in Google is a good start, but you may get discouraged at the level of education or experience required to fill your desired vacancy. Looking for opportunities in "befriending," "care work" or "support work" may yield more promising results. Even working in a charity shop for a mental health charity could get your foot in the door and show an early commitment to the organisation.
Phone support is also a great way to get psychology-focused experience and many organisations like the NSPCC, Samaritans and the Suicide Prevention Hotline in the USA provide comprehensive training too. Another excellent service, which is almost always looking for keen volunteers, is your own university support line. This anonymous campus service is a great place to sharpen your listening and empathy skills. Just remember that despite these positions being voluntary they still require a high degree of commitment.
We've compiled a selection of relevant psychology volunteering vacancies below. These roles can often be the stepping stone to a paid job, so be discerning, but not too selective that you miss out on what could be a fantastic opportunity for your level of experience. We all have to start somewhere!