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AT A GLANCE
HEAR FROM VOLUNTEERS
This programme is ideal for…
The daily psychology placement is based at a psychiatric hospital, one of three in the country. You will work with the mental health unit under the supervision of a designated volunteer and intern trainee team to learn about clinical care, mental health treatment, and challenges in the Ghanaian healthcare system. You will work and learn from some of the leading mental health care professionals in Ghana. You will have the opportunity to observe clinical care on a daily basis on the different wards in the hospital and learn about treatment for patients with acute mental health conditions in particular drug addiction, rehabilitation and schizophrenia.
You will go on weekly community outreach visits with the outreach team from the hospital. Working with the mental health team and other volunteers you will lead community projects with the intention of raising awareness about mental health illnesses and well-being, as well as sharing information about available treatments and services.
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About the Programme
The clinical psychology volunteer placement is designed to give practical on-the-ground work experience at a psychiatric hospital in the Cape Coast. The hospital is a specialized hospital in mental health, general medicine, counselling, family health and reproductive care, rehabilitation and community mental health care. Volunteers will work across a range of wards including acute and chronic mental health conditions,the counselling unit and rehabilitation centre. Volunteers will learn from a team of healthcare professionals operating in different fields of mental health. As well as skills-based learning, volunteers will give back to the community by assisting with community outreach programmes.
Daily Schedule: You will be volunteering at the hospital from Monday to Friday. Although times and duties may vary from day to day, you should expect to be at your placement for 6 hours a day, between 8.30am and 2.30pm. Below is an example itinerary for your placement in Ghana – Please note this is just a guide.
Monday: Orientation to the hospital / Planning weekly duties
Tuesday: Working with the psychology department
Wednesday: Working with the psychology department
Thursday: Working at both male and female acute wards
Friday: Review of objectives, observations and recommendations
Weekends and free time: The weekends are free time off from volunteering. This is a great opportunity to explore Ghana and plan weekend trips and activities. You can read our Volunteer Travel Guide to Ghana for great tips on places to visit and things to do. If you just want to relax, enjoy the nearby beaches and hang out at the local spots you are welcome to stay at the volunteer accommodation over the weekend, but most volunteers will plan to go on trips together on the weekends. Our local team can help you organise weekend activities.
The clinical psychology placement is based at the psychiatric hospital in the Cape Coast. You will work under the supervision of a highly qualified team of seven doctors, counselors and mental health nurses and will observe care and treatment for patients with more acute and chronic mental health conditions like drug addiction, psychosis and schizophrenia.
The Psychiatric Hospital in the Cape Coast is one of only three psychiatric hospitals in Ghana. It is considered as one of Nkrumah’s accomplishments built in the year 1965. The Hospital has many wards including: Medical Records, Counselling unit, Medical OPD, Community psychiatric unit, Psychiatric OPD, ICU, Acute & Chronic conditions, Psychosocial and Rehabilitation, Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre as well as Male & Female wards.
The Hospital has evolved through various stages and has had to provide general medical services together with mental health care because communities close to the hospital have not had facilities that provide general medical services. The outpatient department now operates a 24 hour service. Other speciality services now incorporated include epileptic clinic, substance use clinic, diabetic and hypertension clinic and a general medical outpatient department (O.P.D) to take care of non-psychiatric cases. The hospital also runs a maternity unit which is highly patronised by the communities around.
You will also join the mental health team on community outreach visits. Community programmes include home health visits, school health talks, case finding, community health clinics and workshops, radio and tv talks, repatriation of long stayed discharges.
Mental Health care in Ghana faces challenges with access to services, stigma and resources. Psychology volunteers can make an impact by learning from healthcare professionals and mental health nurses, and supporting their daily work treating patients.
Volunteers can assist the mental health team with the following duties:Participate in ward rounds, admitting, discharge and document patient’s data, plan and implement patients care, carry out patients teaching, counsel patients and relatives, evaluate care programmes of clients, create therapeutic relationship between staff, patients, relative, family and others, organise and conduct home visit, organise and conduct health promotions programmes, monitor the effects of psychotropic medication and other treatments, give bed bath to very ill patients and prevention of pressure sores, maintain patient’s personal hygiene, serve and feed patients, care and manage bereavement, perform other official duties assigned by the Ward Manager/Unit In-Charge.
You should expect to be working with restricted resources and be aware that there are cultural differences in the healthcare environment than what you’re used to. Volunteer duties will vary day-to-day and will depend on your experience and how long your programme is. Initially your tasks will be observational and administrative but the more engaged and willing you are the more you will learn and get out of the experience. Volunteers will develop an understanding of some of the challenges faced in the healthcare system in Ghana and can make a meaningful difference and impact by working at the psychiatric hospital in Cape Coast.
First and foremost, as a charity organisation, we operate on a not-for-profit basis. This means your fees don’t go into someone’s pocket, but directly back into the projects you’re supporting. This is something that not many other placements can offer.
Our collaborations with various organisations and institutions ensure that you gain hands-on clinical experience, offering a chance to work alongside seasoned mental health professionals. Learning alongside psychologists, nurses, and counsellors sharing their knowledge and experiences with you complements your academic journey.
Furthermore, our placements encompass more than just the day-to-day tasks. Engaging in community projects provides a broader view of societal development, and it’s a chance to apply your skills in varied, often challenging, environments. The exposure to different cultures and practices will not only widen your perspective but equip you for a diverse work environment in the future.
We’re able to tailor each of our volunteer experiences to fit your goals and experience so get in touch to start your adventure.
To join the Clinical Psychology placement in Ghana, volunteers need to be Psychology students or studying similar subject-related fields (Social Work, Medical etc.). Qualified healthcare professionals or volunteers with previous healthcare experience are also eligible to take part.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or older to participate in this placement. Ideally, volunteers will have a foundational knowledge of psychology theory and a passion for mental health. Importantly, all applicants should show a strong commitment to learning, a desire to develop and grow, the ability to work in a team and a positive approach to helping people.
Volunteers from all over the world are welcome to join this programme.
*Please enquire about our heritage bursary if you have ancestral roots in the country you want to volunteer in.
All our projects are founded, managed and developed by locals. We provide essential funding to support community programs, development projects, running costs, local salaries and sustainability. We work with partner organisations that are specialists in the areas they operate. Our partner organisations are selected because of the important work they are doing and they are run by impressive humanitarians and professionals in their fields.
On the Clinical Psychology Placement you will work with at a Psychiatric Hospital in Cape Coast. The hospital specializes in clinical mental healthcare as well as serving the local communities’ healthcare needs. The hospital has a passionate and dedicated team of psychologists, doctors and mental nurses who will supervise you. Due to limited resources and cultural attitudes towards mental health, there is a need for volunteer support. The mental health team is committed to a cultural exchange of ideas and approaches, sharing professional insight and experience with volunteers, and working on community outreach projects together that raise awareness about well-being and access to services.
Vocational Impact operates under UK registered charity, Arms Around the Child. Our core mission is to provide ethical volunteer abroad programmes that provide international skills exchange, career development, work experience, and practical support to international NGOs, and to donate directly towards projects that volunteers work with.
Ghana is perfect for a first visit to Africa, it’s considered one of the safest and most stable of African nations. Programs are based in the rural coastal town of Senya Beraku, a 2-hour drive West of the capital Accra. Volunteers in Senya can really take advantage of the stunning coastline, tropical beaches, lush jungles, historic forts and the vibrant Ghanaian culture.
Formerly known as the Gold Coast, Ghana deserves its place in the sun. The country is benefiting from its stable democracy in the form of fast-paced development, but rural areas where volunteers are most needed still face challenges with poverty, education, health, stigma and access to services.
Rural volunteer placements are where volunteers can really make an impact. By helping local initiatives and organizations you can make a big difference in the community. Rural life gives you the chance to learn and immerse yourself in the culture of Ghana. You can live like a local whilst having easy access to the rich experiences Ghana has to offer.
In Ghana, volunteers can expect friendly and welcoming faces, laidback local culture, historical landmarks and natural beauty. Among the highlights is visiting the capital Accra, with its markets, museums, bars and bustling city life. The Atlantic coast forts along the Gold Coast are significant for understanding the painful history of the slave trade. Kakum National Park is home to wildlife, plants and forests, best experienced from the canopy walk through the trees 30 meters above ground. The many tropical and paradise-like beaches are the perfect place to unwind.
This is a truly special country to volunteer in for an authentic African experience!
During the course of your placement, you will stay at a specifically designed volunteer house located in the town of Cape Coast. You will therefore live like a local Ghanaian. The accommodation is of very good quality by local standards and has running water, hot showers, and electricity, but it can be inconsistent. There is a well-maintained forecourt, well-sized bedrooms and living spaces, and although basic, the house is clean and comfortable. There is a caretaker/ security guard who attends to the gate of the accommodation, the protection of the property and the safety of the volunteers. You will have staff that will cook and clean for you, and there are basic amenities for you to use.
The house can host up to 4 volunteers at one time. There are 2 rooms, each with 2 beds, and if you are with a group of four you will share a room with another volunteer. If you are with a mixed group rooms will be separate for male and female volunteers with a shared common room and toilet facilities. There is a communal kitchen, supplied with basics: fridge, freezer, kettle and hob. Pillows and sheets are provided, however, it is recommended that you bring your own towels and mosquito nets. You can only drink bottled water, which will be provided for you.
There is no Wi-Fi at the home or in the village, however, you can buy a local SIM card with data (your phone needs to be unlocked) to stay connected. The VI team in-country will help you purchase a local SIM Card.
Cape Coast is a vibrant town where you will be welcomed and made to feel at home by the locals. During your free time you can visit the local beaches, hang out at the forts overlooking the sea or head to one of the local bars for a drink and a bite to eat. There are several shops around the town as well as a local market where you can purchase some snacks and other essentials.
You will be provided with three meals per day cooked on-site at the accommodation. This is your chance to experience local, authentic and traditional Ghanaian food. Carbs, meats and vegetables are all staple parts of the diet in Ghana. Here is an example of meals served:
Breakfast: Toasted Bread, Eggs, Milo, Milk, Coffee, Pancakes, Omelette, Salad, Fruit, Cereal, Butter, Chocolate Spread.
Lunch / Dinner:
Rice with tomato sauce / Yam chips with shito and chicken / Rice with cabbage stew and egg / Noodles / Jollof with salad and chicken / Beans with fried Plantain / Fried rice with salad and chicken / Red red beans with Jollof / Yam chips with Shito and chicken or fish / Rice with Tomato sauce and chicken / Boiled yam with vegetable stew and chicken
Meals can be made Vegetarian and Vegan dishes can be provided upon request. Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements.
We aim to begin programmes on the first Monday of each month. Once you register for the programme we work closely with all volunteers to map your dates together. Volunteers will need to arrive one or two days before orientation.
After you have registered for the programme you will need to book flights to arrive at Kotoka International Airport (ACC) in Accra. Upon arrival in Ghana, you will be met at the airport by one of our volunteer coordinators. We will provide you with a Vocational Impact T-shirt which makes identification easy. Our team will then transport you to Cape Coast, you can then expect a travel time of anywhere between 3-5 hours.
Orientation is hosted by our local team where you will receive an introduction to your programme. This will cover information about Ghana, the culture and customs, expectations, safety, staff members, organisational partners, and an overview of the placement itinerary.
Depending on when you arrive you will get a guided tour of Cape Coast with our volunteer coordinator a day before the programme begins. This gives you the chance to familiarize yourself with the local village, landmarks, beaches, town centre, some hang out spots and bars etc.
1 week – £400
2 weeks – £790
3 weeks – £1170
4 weeks – £1540
5 weeks – £1900
6 weeks – £2250
8 weeks – £2950
10 weeks – £3550
12 weeks – £4000
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