Project Officer for NHS Trafford CCG
Education: Psychology - Northumbria University, UK. MSc Forensic Psychology - Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
SLV.Global Placement: Mental Health Placement, February 2014
Current Role: Project Officer for NHS Trafford CCG
Tell us about your SLV.Global experience: 'I went out to Sri Lanka in February 2014. I was scared and nervous of what to expect and cried as I left my family behind. I spent three months based in Maharagama and following my experience, I undertook a Forensic Psychology MSc and am still best of friends with the girls I shared this life changing experience with. We shared some incredible highs (reaching Hill Country summits) to some pretty low lows (nit-gate and homesickness) and experiences I wouldn’t change for the world. When I had to leave at the end of my placement, I cried again because this time I was leaving behind a new family.'
'I stayed with the most wonderful homestay family, and am still in touch today. Every night Amma would make us a different, delicious curry and we would wolf it down while catching up about the day’s projects. This time was for us to unwind and then prepare for the next day of exciting projects. No two days are ever the same in Sri Lanka and you wouldn’t want them to be. There is so much to do and you’ll want to soak up everything you can.'
Tell us what you gained from the placement: 'During my time there, I became psychology manager which meant I had more responsibilities than the other volunteers but I welcomed the challenge and pushed myself. I was responsible for timetabling projects, supporting volunteers, accommodating changes, and writing a report for the director of the mental health facility in which we worked. All of the projects were interesting and were having an impact on the local communities. It was empowering to encourage and enable the students/children/patients/residents to reach a higher potential than they thought possible.'
'However, I can’t take credit for working hard every day for 3 months! We worked hard, but we also relaxed hard as well. There was a weekly opportunity for some sensational travelling experiences from hiking challenging peaks to surf lessons, from scuba diving to walking on the beach – there was something for everyone. Every Friday afternoon, bags would be packed and buses would be caught – taking us to a new and exciting destination on this idyllic island.'
'I would like to take this opportunity to encourage anyone reading this to apply for a placement with SLV.Global because it is a truly one-of- a-kind experience. You will not know what’s hit you; whether it’s the monkeys climbing around the house, the heat of the sun, visiting a temple with resident elephants, the service users wanting to play, or seeing leopards on safari. It is a magical country with some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. The work SLV.Global do is inspiring; it takes a long time to make an impact like they are but as they are now growing internationally it is simply a reflection of the excellent work being done.'