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AT A GLANCE
HEAR FROM VOLUNTEERS
This programme is ideal for…
Your daily psychology internship is located at a local medical clinic and hospital in Ghana. Engage with the mental health teams at both facilities under the guidance of the unit’s head. This psychology work experience offers an in-depth understanding of mental health treatment, care, and the unique challenges in the Ghanaian healthcare system. Observe a range of processes including consultations, medical administration, observations, assessments, diagnoses, counseling, and medicine prescriptions. Volunteers will deepen their knowledge of frequently diagnosed conditions like depression, psychosis, enuresis, epilepsy, alcoholism, and dementia.
In the afternoons, engage in a vital psychology placement within the child development programme at our charity initiative. This programme delivers a comprehensive and integrated framework of education, tuition, workshops, well-being, arts, and sports for children from vulnerable backgrounds. In this setting, you’ll collaborate with our counsellors and care home management, deepening your knowledge of child welfare, safeguarding, and counselling support.
Get hands on with weekly community outreach as part of your psychology work experience, teaming up with professionals from the hospital and clinic. Collaborate with the mental health teams and fellow volunteers to spearhead community projects. These initiatives aim at raising awareness about mental health illnesses and well-being and disseminating information on available treatments and services.
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About the Programme
The psychology and mental health volunteer placement is designed to give practical on-the-ground work experience. Volunteers will work across a range of institutions and organizations whilst learning from healthcare professionals operating in different fields of mental health. As well as skills-based learning, volunteers will give back to the community by working with counsellors to support underprivileged children and assisting with community outreach projects to raise awareness about mental health, stigma and well-being.
Daily Schedule: You will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. In the mornings you will be at the local medical clinic or hospital with the mental health unit. Although times and duties may vary from day to day, you should expect to be at your placement for 4-5 hours, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. In the afternoons you will work on the child development programme between 4-6 p.m. Below is an example itinerary for your placement in Ghana – Please note this is just a guide.
Monday: AM – Local Medical Clinic / PM – Child Development Programme
Tuesday: AM – Local Medical Clinic / PM – Child Development Programme
Wednesday: AM – Community Outreach / PM – Child Development Programme
Thursday: AM – Local Hospital / PM – Child Development Programme
Friday: AM – Local Hospital / PM – Child Development Programme
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 daily psychology placement is split between working at a local medical clinic in Senya and a local hospital in Fetteh. You will work with the mental health teams at both institutions under the supervision of the head of the unit to learn about mental health treatment, care and challenges in the Ghanaian healthcare system.
The child development placement is in the afternoons at our charity project where we run a holistic and integrated programme of education, tuition, workshops, well-being, arts and sports for children from vulnerable backgrounds. Here you will work with our counsellors and care home management to learn about child welfare, safeguarding and counselling support.
You will go on weekly community outreach visits with the teams from the hospital and clinic. Working with the mental health teams 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.
The field visit to the psychiatric hospital gives you the opportunity to learn and work in the field of clinical psychology. You will work under the supervision of highly qualified mental health professionals and will observe care and treatment for patients with more acute mental health conditions like drug addiction, psychosis and schizophrenia. Depending on how long your program is, you will stay here for 5-10 days.
Mental Health care in rural areas like Senya 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 will also assist social workers with underprivileged children and will also contribute to vital mental health education and awareness projects in the community. Developing an understanding of some of the challenges in the healthcare system, particularly in rural areas, volunteers can make a meaningful difference.
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 at each different institution and will depend on your experience and how long your program is. Initially your tasks will be observational and administrative. The mentoring with the children and community outreach will be more hands-on.
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 Psychology & Mental Health 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 Psychology and Mental Health Placement, you will work with a number of local organisations and institutions. Primarily you will be based at the local medical clinic and hospital. Both institutions serve their local communities’ healthcare needs and have passionate and dedicated staff. Due to limited resources and cultural attitudes towards mental health, there is a need for volunteer support. The mental health teams are 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.
Volunteers will also help at our foundation in Senya which provides holistic care for children suffering from neglect, abuse, child trafficking and poverty. The foundation’s goal is to give children the best opportunities for the future by providing an integrated programme of housing, education, healthcare, nutrition, sports and arts, as well as a focus on counselling, mentoring and well-being.
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 local village of Senya-Beraku. 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 large and 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.
Senya Beraku is a small village community 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 fort overlooking the sea or head to one of the local bars (we recommend Tom’s Garden) for a drink and a bite to eat. There are several small shops around the village 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 Senya, you can then expect a travel time of anywhere between 1-2 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 Senya 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.
On your final day of the programme, usually a Friday evening we will host a leaving BBQ for you and the other volunteers also departing to thank you and say farewell to all the friends you’ve made and the people you’ve worked with.
1 week – £350
2 weeks – £690
3 weeks – £1020
4 weeks – £1340
5 weeks – £1650
6 weeks – £1950
8 weeks – £2450
10 weeks – £2950
12 weeks – £3350
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