We're proud to be the only organisation providing psychology students and graduates from around the world the opportunity to gain valuable, practical experience in the mental health sector at the same time as being immersed in a unique and exciting culture.
We currently partner with numerous universities around the globe, which send their students abroad with us as part of a placement year, to gain course credit, or simply to increase their practical knowledge.
Current University Partners
We are proud to partner with a number of universities and organisations around the world. If you wish to be a university partner or want to find out more about what partnering with us entails, please contact Iona, our Partnerships Account Supervisor, at [email protected].
This year, we have teamed up with the following societies to sponsor any events and talks they will be hosting during the upcoming academic year.
What's the benefit of participating in one of our placements for your students?
Volunteers who participate in our psychology-focused placements spend their week working as Activity Support Workers in Sri Lanka or Bali. They are responsible for planning and executing daily, therapeutic activity sessions for individuals living with a range of mental health issues and specific needs, as well as teaching English at a variety of settings in the local community.
Volunteers have the unique opportunity to expand their experience of global mental health by working with local professionals to increase their knowledge and enhance their skill sets. As we're focused on work experience and not a holiday vibe, your students can benefit from all of the following:
All volunteers completing an 8-week placement will receive, as part of their placement content, time set aside for professional supervision with a local psychologist.
SLV.Global Volunteers are supervised and supported throughout their time on placement, whether in Sri Lanka or Bali by both international and local staff who know the country best!
✅ Professional validation of hours worked
We have professionals who are responsible for signing off the working hours of experience gained on placement for any placement years or to verify hours worked for course credit.
✅ Professional reference
The work our volunteers do in Sri Lanka and Bali is much appreciated and thus, we think it's important to support them through their future career ambitions. We are happy to be a referee for any volunteers applying for jobs or further education and they can find this information on their Alumni Portals, upon completion of their placement.
Each volunteer's first week is 100% dedicated to training and ensuring they're ready to work sensitively within the culture. They attend talks and workshops about working with vulnerable individuals, working sensitively to the culture and cooperating as a team. This is done to ensure that each project session runs smoothly, and that service users get the maximum benefit from their time on projects.
✅ Over 40 hours of hands-on experience
SLV.Global volunteers work the equivalent of a 9-5 job while on placement, from working on projects with service users, to planning their activities, to preparing resources for the project sessions.
Essential Safeguarding Information
|Supervision||✅||Volunteers are supported by senior staff throughout their placement. Ratio of 10:1.|
|Training||✅||The first week in country is induction and training.|
|Health & Safety Policy||✅||Completed: 05/05/2018 Updated annually|
|Equal Opportunities Policy||✅||Updated annually|
|Risk Assessment to cover volunteer activities||✅||Updated annually|
|Employers Liability Insurance||✅||Camberford Law PLC. Policy Number 940. Limit of Indemnity £10,000,000 Date Renewed: 01/04/2019|
|Public Liability Insurance||✅||Camberford Law PLC. Policy Number 940. Limit of Indemnity £2,000,000 Date Renewed: 01/04/2019|
|Crisis Management Plan||✅||Updated annually|
|Medical / Repatriation Expenses (first Party)||✅||Camberford Law PLC. Policy Number 940. Date Renewed: 01/04/2019|
|Professional Indemnity||✅||Camberford Law PLC. Policy Number 940. Limit of Indemnity £100,000 Date Renewed: 01/04/2019|
|Volunteer Insurance Policy||✅||Additionally, all volunteers are required to purchase travel insurance for the duration of their trip.|
|Volunteer Induction||✅||The induction takes place the first week of the volunteer’s placement.|
|Written Reference||✅||Upon successful completion of the placement volunteers will be provided with a certificate of completion and a reference upon request.|
How can you spread the word about our placements?
Most professors choose to send an email around, or to mention us in their lecturers. Recently we heard that the vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool mentioned us at graduation! However you do it is up to you, but we promise it will make a big difference to your students.
Here is our suggested blurb:
SLV.Global is a volunteer-led mental health organisation providing degree-specific volunteer placements in Sri Lanka and Bali, Indonesia. Their placements offer participants the chance to gain psychology-focused work experience in a multitude of professional environments from classrooms to a psychiatric facility.
Volunteers work with diverse client groups, including children and adults with specific needs and mental health concerns, with the aim to bolster the countries' existing resources and to promote positive mental health.
SLV.Global offer comprehensive training and encourage volunteers to contribute to the continued growth and development of the team and its projects. The SLV.Global team strive to make a positive, responsible, and sustainable impact in the communities where they work. You can find out more by checking out their website or contacting the team on [email protected].
Please click on a question to find the answer you're looking for:
+ Is it safe?
We would never place our volunteers in a position where we felt their safety would be compromised. Volunteers’ safety is our top priority and we have excellent exit strategies in place should anything occur, but in the last 7 years we’ve worked without incident. We also always recommend checking the Foreign Travel Office for the most up to date information about travel before the placement is set to begin.
Volunteers never travel alone during the week and should not be doing so at the weekend either. The in-country team are always on the other end of the phone; 24/7 should any incident occur we will provide the best support we can. The London office is also in constant communication with the in country teams throughout the volunteer placements. Volunteers have the numbers of all local police and are advised to be mindful of their surroundings, especially after dark.
For further information or for a copy of our Health and Safety Policy please get in touch with our University Partnerships team, on [email protected]
+ Why does it cost money to volunteer?
The short answer is - it doesn’t. What costs money is the accommodation, food, training, support and transport we provide. In comparison to other volunteer organisations, volunteers joining us pay significantly less, but get so much more.
We believe in providing a safe, comfortable and ethical experience for volunteers and we are very confident that the volunteer experience we provide, in regards to the projects, the homestays and the support we offer, is second to none.
+ Who is eligible?
Psychology students, graduates and those with an interest in, or experience in, the mental health sector are all very welcome to join our team! We have a variety of placements and programs for all experience and education levels.
+ When do the placements and programs run?
We run placements and programs year-round.
+ Can you demonstrate your positive impact?
Yes! We are so proud to have completed a five-year evaluation report where we have evidenced to positive, lasting impact we have had, and continue to have, through running our placement activities. You can read the report here.
+ What support is available?
From the time volunteers are picked up at the airport to the end of their placement we have a great support system in place. Our in-country teams, comprised of many individuals, are always there to offer support and continue to cultivate the relationships we have with our projects and partners. From Project Managers to all of our assistant managers, project supervisors and coordinators who help volunteers transition smoothly into local life.
They will also organise all the training volunteers receive and the safe transport to and from projects in addition to liaising with homestays, overseeing the activity weekends, providing volunteers with pastoral care, helping ill volunteers should they be unwell and everything else behind the scenes that helps make SLV.Global run so well.
As well as the support network provided by the in-country teams, we foster an environment of peer-to-peer support by ensuring that volunteers never work alone on projects or travel alone on the weekend. Volunteers also live together in their homestay accommodation in groups of anywhere between 5-15. Further fostering this supportive environment, we organise a Peer Mentor program where selected volunteers receive an additional four weeks of training and act as the first port of call for volunteers having any issues during their placement.
In addition to all of our local team members there is also our International Volunteer Support Manager who is on call 24/7 and who runs the training week, employs logistics, manages risk assessments, trains the local teams, in addition to ensuring volunteers have the most enjoyable, standardised experience possible.
+ What happens if volunteers 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. If a hospital visit is required, we will always take sick volunteers to a Western, private hospital.
Volunteers need to take out their own, personal travel insurance for the duration of their placement to cover them for any additional weekend activities they plan to do and to help with any costs should they become injured or ill.
+ Is it easy for volunteers to communicate with home/university while away?
Upon arrival into the country volunteers are required to purchase a Sri Lankan or Indonesian SIM card so that the in-country team can remain in contact with them. In both Sri Lanka and Indonesia there is great 3G coverage and access to Wi-Fi via internet cafes and restaurants so volunteers can stay in touch with friends and family back home.
Many universities have published articles about how participating in one of our placements was beneficial to their students.
Check out what they had to say by clicking on a logo:
"The placements provide psychology students and graduates with the chance to gain hands-on mental health work experience whilst being immersed in a different culture."
- University of Liverpool
"Not only has Veronica utilised and developed important skills in her chosen field of study but she has also developed an in depth understanding of mental health from an additional cultural perspective."
- University of Bristol
"They not only utilised and developed important psychological skills but also developed an in depth understanding of mental health from an additional cultural perspective"
- The Australian National University
"As a psychology student, it is really crucial to gain hands-on work experience in order to stand out in an incredibly competitive field."
- University College London
"During their placement, volunteers from all over the globe ran therapeutic activity sessions in psychiatric facilities for individuals suffering from a range of mental health concerns. In addition to their time at the hospital, volunteers also worked at numerous government run schools and social initiatives for children with disabilities and taught English in the local community."
- The University of Warwick
"Today’s psychology students are all too aware of how important it is to gain hands-on work experience in order to stand out in an incredibly competitive field. Having a working understanding of global mental health is therefore a huge benefit in order to demonstrate understanding and respect for different cultures in our multicultural society."
- The University of Sheffield
‘’The amount of mental health experience I was able to gain was incredible and would be almost impossible to get in the UK. Every day varied from planning and implementing therapeutic sessions on mental health and special needs projects, to teaching English in the local Sri Lankan community."
- The University of Essex
We're privileged to have so many global universities, and various media outlets, like the BBC endorsing our placements. Below you can find a selection of articles in publications, both nationally and internationally, which discuss in depth how the work we do benefits the local community, as well as provides the opportunity for psychology students and graduates to work multi-culturally as they gain valuable psychology work experience.
"SLV.Global provides an excellent opportunity for mental health volunteer work for anyone interested in gaining experience in the field of global mental health. Through my placement, working with individuals on a variety of different projects, I was continually surprised by the variety of new things I learned on a daily basis… For me personally, having the opportunity to sit alongside a psychiatrist working in the field... was equally humbling and eye-opening.” - Megan, Alumni Volunteer
“By going in with warmth, empathy and acceptance - core conditions that are essential to any therapeutic alliance- we can create the right environment to have fundamental human experiences such as sharing a laugh, a smile or simply a quiet moment sitting together.”
- Tom, SLV.Global Volunteer (2017)
“I was overwhelmed to see patients participating in daily activities such as cooking and cleaning, often completing these tasks along with their families, […]. I wonder if, within the NHS, we need to learn from our mental health colleagues in ‘developing’ countries? After all, it is no secret that activity, inclusion and identity encourage recovery and positive mental health.”
- Kirsty MacDonald, SLV.Global Participant (2019)
“Lucy believes that if done correctly volunteering can be life-changing in a fantastic way”
- Company Magazine
“Aliya explained that she thinks living in a homestay with a Sri Lankan family is a really really great idea. It gives volunteers the opportunity to become fully engaged with a different culture and to live life like a local.”
Meet our SLVeterans!
All of our SLVeterans are former SLV.Global volunteers who have utilised the experience, which they gained mental health volunteering with us, in different ways to help further their careers and/or progress in their studies. We're so proud of all of our past team members and are consistently inspired by what they achieve.