SLV.Global is a mental health organisation that has been sending students and graduates overseas since 2010. Our placements are designed to provide valuable work experience in the mental health sector as well as promoting positive mental health within the communities where we work.
To give you a bit more information about what our Mental Health placements entail, we’ve compiled this list of frequently asked questions for parents and guardians. We’re always available to speak to you, but would prefer to liaise with the individual taking part in the placement to avoid any confusion and promote the clear communication which is so essential to anyone joining us on the team.
What will they be doing?
Volunteers in Sri Lanka and Bali work in a variety of settings to gain hands-on Psychology Work Experience. Splitting their time between a minimum of six weekly projects, our volunteers will gain at least 40 hours of hands-on experience with diverse groups of service users in various settings.
Participants on the Clinical & Ancient Psychology Program in India spend their first week taking part in interactive workshops with local professionals, gaining an insight into Global Mental Health and ancient Eastern practices. With a further six days spent exploring southern India to provide greater contact and understanding to their learning.
Each location is unique, offering different experiences.
Who can join the team?
The Foundation Placement is perfect for people who have been studying Psychology and are eager to gain valuable hands-on experience. The Advanced Placement was designed for those who have already worked with vulnerable individuals in a mental health setting.
The placement in Bali, which started in 2016, is still in its infancy and thus requires a higher level of experience to take part in to help develop the placement.
Our program in India was created for people who have a passion for global mental health and who are keen to explore how ancient Eastern methods like yoga and meditation can work harmoniously with modern medicine to promote positive mental well-being.
What will they get?
Our placements are designed to give volunteers a greater understanding of cross-cultural relations, further knowledge in their field of study, and they’ll make a few friends and lots of lifetime memories. They’ll also be awarded with a certificate of participation and a reference from us upon successful completion of their program. These references can be submitted alongside any University applications or future job applications.
Where will they be living?
During their placement in Sri Lanka or Bali, our volunteers live in homestays with a local family and as part of the local community during the working week (Mon - Fri). All of our volunteers will live in groups, with others taking part on the same placement; they will never be living on their own. SLV.Global staff and coordinators will either be living in the same homestay as volunteers or nearby. Senior in-country management will also visit every week and London HQ is also in contact throughout their placement.
Volunteers find their own accommodation for Friday & Saturday nights, and this is an amazing chance to explore the island with other volunteers.
While taking part in the Clinical & Ancient Psychology Program in India, our participants reside in the School of Ancient Wisdom in Bengaluru, with an Indian host family accommodation in Cochin, on houseboats on the gorgeous Kerala backwaters, as well as in hotel-style accommodation during the remainder of the program. SLV.India staff members will reside with the team throughout their program.
Is it safe?
Our participants’ safety is our top priority and we have excellent exit strategies in place should anything occur. We would never place our participants in a position where we felt their safety might be compromised. We also always recommend checking the Foreign Travel Office for the most up to date information about travel before the program is set to begin.
Participants never travel alone during the placements and should not be doing so during their free time either. We are always available to the team, and should any incident occur we will provide the best support we can. Participants will have the numbers of team leaders and are advised to be mindful of their surroundings, especially after dark.
How can they contact home?
Although most accommodation does not provide Wi-Fi, 3G is widely available and fairly reliable if participants have an international phone plan.
All volunteers in Sri Lanka and Bali will be required to purchase a local SIM card to keep in touch with the SLV.Global team during their placement. Volunteers will also likely find Wi-Fi while travelling at weekends.
During the Clinical & Ancient Psychology Program in India there will be places where participants can connect to Wi-Fi in their spare time, however, due to the lack of constant connection, participants will not be available 24/7.
Why does it cost to take part?
As much as we would love to provide participants with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience within global mental health and fully immerse themselves in a new, vibrant culture, free of charge - we can’t.
The fees cover the accommodation, food, training, support, and transport we provide. We also feel it is important to financially support the lovely SLV.Global permanent team who supports each volunteer throughout their placement.
We believe in providing a safe, comfortable and ethical experience for participants. We are confident that the experience we provide, is second to none.
Can you visit?
You can, of course, visit the country your son or daughter is in during their program. However, please be advised that our volunteers and participants are extremely busy during their placements and are strongly advised not to travel alone. We expect all of our team members to maintain their commitment to the program, so we ask you please help us to stick to this commitment.
If you want to see your loved one, the best time to do this is at the weekend, and they will need to be home by 9:30pm on Sunday. This curfew is explicit, as are the reasons we don’t approve of volunteers travelling alone, so please respect these rules and help us by upholding them.
Participants in India travel throughout their program and have very little time off during their stay.
What if they get sick?
We always take ill volunteers to doctors who speak English, so we can easily communicate and get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Volunteers need to take out their own travel insurance for the duration of their placement to cover them should they injure themselves or become ill.
What support is available?
Our volunteers are supported from the moment they first apply to join one of our teams. We have a dedicated support team in London, to guide them through the application process and ensure that any pre-departure questions are answered. Once confirmed on a team our volunteers are provided with a volunteer portal, which lists any important information they need before joining our teams abroad.
From the time they are picked up at the airport to the end of their placement we have a great in-country support system in place. There are members of permanent SLV.Global staff who live with volunteers and provide day-to-day support and effective training. On top of that in-country management is always just a phone call away and available 24/7 for volunteer support, with the London office also in constant contact throughout their placement.
We deliver what we promise, but you don’t have to take our word for it - check out over 600 reviews on our Facebook page alone.
We have always welcomed our volunteers’ and participants’ feedback, which has allowed us to grow and improve over the years to help maintain and ensure our participants’ safety and optimise their experience. As such we are proud to have been rated among GoAbroad’s Top Volunteer Abroad Programs in 2017 and 2018.
We hope this document has been useful, but if you'd like to know more, please check us out online. For more information about us and our placements please check out our YouTube channel. Or feel free to contact, Ellie, our Communications Manager on [email protected]