Psychology & Mental Health Volunteer Programme in South Africa
Searching for a unique volunteer experience in South Africa? Step into our Psychology & Mental Health Internship – a longstanding collaborations with top-tier NGOs and community projects in South Africa.

Designed especially for university students, recent graduates, and seasoned professionals, this programme offers practical roles in areas like victim counselling and child psychology placements.

By getting hands-on, you not only deepen your field expertise working in low resource environments but also drive meaningful, sustainable change in local communities through outreach and charitable work.

What’s more? Experience the raw beauty and vibrant cultures of South Africa, adding experience to both your professional and personal growth that boosts your CV and really stands out in an interview.

Get in touch today and craft your volunteering experience towards your own skills and goals whilst making a impact!

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 Schedule a call with one of our volunteer coordinators.


Psychology placement at foundation for abused children
Child development sessions
Community outreach work
Victim support services
Gain practical experience and boost your CV
Tailor-made programmes based on your specialisation and interest


Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Price: From £400
Dates: 1st week of every month (flexible start dates offered)
Duration: 4 weeks +
Age: 18+
Accommodation, meals, airport pickup/dropoff, in-country transport, professional programme development, 24/7 support


This programme is ideal for…

Psychology students and graduates interested in child psychology and victim support, and looking to gain practical case-based training. Volunteers should have a foundational knowledge of psychology theory and a desire to work alongside local professionals to learn different approaches to psychological healing and the social challenges of ending child abuse.

Programme Overview

Learn about Victim Support with your Psychology Placement

On the Psychology & Mental Health programme your daily placement will be based at our partner NGO foundation that supports children who are victims of abuse. Volunteers will work under the supervision of the volunteer coordinator to learn about the different areas of victim support. You can expect to work alongside leading healthcare professionals and community support workers, observing their practice, receiving training and developing an understanding of the challenges of dealing with abuse. 

  • Learn about Forensic and Psychological Assessments: Structured process engaged through various techniques by qualified Social Workers.
  • Develop an understanding of Therapeutic Counseling and Support: Professional care to assist with the process of psychological healing and coping with trauma. 
Empowering Communities Through Outreach

You will join the team on community outreach visits to township schools and community spaces. Working with the community support officers and other volunteers you will lead community projects with the intention of raising awareness about teenage pregnancy, gender-based violence, sexual reproductive health, human rights and well-being, as well as sharing information about available treatments and services.

  • Teen Moms Programme: a service to provide teenage pregnancy support services in South Africa. 
  • Gender-Based Violence Outreach: Evidence-based programme to respond to and address violence against women and violence against children.
  • School Awareness Programme (SAFE): Prevention model that creates awareness in learners and educators about their rights and responsibilities.

Start your adventure

Easliy apply with no commitment by filling out our application for to see availability and eligibility.
No upfront fees and it just takes a few minutes.

About the Programme

The psychology and mental health volunteer placement is designed to give practical on-the-ground training and work experience in the area of victim support. Volunteers will work at our partner organisation, a charity helping victims of abuse, whilst learning from healthcare professionals, social workers and counselors operating in different fields of mental health care. As well as skills based learning and training, volunteers will give back to the community by working with community support officers to assist with community outreach projects to raise awareness about teenage pregnancy, gender based violence, sexual reproductive health, human rights and well-being, as well as sharing information about available treatments and services.

Daily Schedule: 

You will be volunteering from Monday to Friday and will report to the head office each morning. Although times and duties may vary day to day, you should expect to be at your placement between 8 am and 4 pm. In the evenings you will have the option to join in with the child development programme and community activities at the village you will be staying in. Below is an example itinerary for your placement in South Africa – please note this is just a guide.

Monday: Head Offices / Weekly Briefing / Administration
Tuesday: Shadow Community Support Officer / Counseling Training
Wednesday: Community Outreach / School Visit
Thursday: Shadow Community Support Officer / Counseling Training 
Friday: Legal Training / Court Preparation

Weekends and free time: The weekends are free time off from volunteering. This is a great opportunity to explore South Africa and plan weekend trips and activities. You can read our Volunteer Travel Guide to South Africa for great tips on places to visit and things to do. If you just want to relax, enjoy the nearby landmarks and explore Johannesburg 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 placement is based at the head offices in Johannesburg. You will work under the supervision of the programme coordinator to learn about victim support, counselling, legal/court preparation and community outreach projects. There are 3 departments within the organisation, depending on how long you join the programme you will get an opportunity to work with and learn from each department.  

The community support officers and counsellors head up the casework and victim support. Here you will receive training in Therapeutic Counseling and Support, learning about professional care to assist with the process of psychological healing and coping with trauma. The legal department focuses on pursuing justice for victims, this includes working with the police on investigations, court preparation with mock courts and litigation. You will learn about the criminal justice system and the legal challenges regarding abuse and sentencing perpetrators. You will also go on weekly community visits and support the outreach work of the foundation. Projects include the Teen Moms Programme, Gender-Based Violence Outreach, and School Awareness Programme (SAFE) among others.

South Africa faces many challenges in particular child abuse, gender-based violence, human rights, poverty and crime prevention. Psychology and Mental Health volunteers can make an impact by supporting one of the leading victim support foundations in South Africa, learning from industry professionals and supporting their daily work to support children and families who are victims of abuse. Volunteers will learn about casework and methods of counselling support. You will also contribute to vital education and awareness projects in the community. By developing an understanding of some of the social, economic, political and legal challenges to abuse prevention, volunteers can make a meaningful difference. 

You should expect to be learning and working with local professionals to impact change but should remain aware that there are cultural differences in the way things are approached. Volunteer duties will vary during your time on the programme depending on the daily needs of the organisation, your levels of experience, the department you are working in and how long your programme is. Initially, your tasks will be observational and administrative. The longer you are on the programme and begin to understand the workload, duties and routine the more hands-on and practical your role will be. 

As we’re a charity organisation we invest the donations from your fees directly back into the projects that we send volunteers too. This means: 

  • We are a charity organisation and therefore not-for-profit
  • Seeing the direct impact of your time and work
  • Gaining practical clinical experience
  • Working with multiple organizational/institutional partners 
  • Learning from mental health professionals (psychologists, nurses, counselors)  
  • Engaging in community development projects
  • Developing your professional and career skills 
  • Contributing to cross-cultural exchange of ideas and practices
  • Immersing yourself in local culture and life
  • Exploring South Africa’s magnificent history, landmarks, nature and cities
  • Experiencing travel, work, friendship and personal growth
  • Connecting with other volunteers and meeting new people
  • Tailored programmes to meet your needs and interests


To join the Psychology & Mental Health placement in South Africa, 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 over to participate in this placement. Ideally, volunteers will have a foundational knowledge of psychology theory and a passion for mental health and victim support. 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.

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 programme your daily placement will be based at our partner NGO foundation that supports children who are victims of abuse. The foundation originated in response to an urgent need for medical examinations for sexually abused children. From there, it has grown into a fully-fledged child abuse NGO for abused children in South Africa. Since its inception there has been an increase in the number of referrals made. This precipitated the development of additional programmes to address more than the medical needs of the children, expanding the services to prevent secondary victimisation of children and their families.

The 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 abuse, sexual health, human rights and access to services.   

In the evenings volunteers can also help at the community village where you will be staying. Our foundation in South Africa provides holistic care for mothers and children suffering from HIV/AIDS. The foundation’s goal is to give these mothers and 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 counseling, mentoring and well-being.

Vocational Impact operates under UK registered charity, Arms Around the Child. Our core mission is to offer ethical volunteer abroad programmes that provide international skills exchange, career development, work experience, practical support to international NGOs, and to donate directly towards projects that volunteers work with. 

Once home of Nelson Mandela, surrounded by rich culture and world-famous safari parks, Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city. For a first-time journey to South Africa, Johannesburg offers visitors a great insight into the country’s complex history, cultural landscape and fast-paced modern development. Experience Johannesburg from a unique perspective with Vocational Impact. 

Joburg, the city of gold, is a vibrant urban city. The history of apartheid and uneven development means there is still extreme inequality and poverty. Major problems include poor health care, sexual abuse, gender-based violence and lack of access to services and care. 

Volunteers can really make an impact with this Urban city placement. By helping local initiatives and organizations in Johannesburg you can make a big difference reaching poorer areas of the city and more rural communities in need of support. Urban life gives you the chance to explore the sites and landmarks Johannesburg has to offer and learn about the history and diverse cultures of South Africa. 

You can experience Joburg like a local whilst having easy access to the rich experiences South Africa has to offer. Visit historic Soweto, and learn about the complex history of the country at the local museums. Take weekend and day trips to safari parks, and see the big five (lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalos) for yourself. Go on a trip to Cape Town and climb Table Mountain or hang out at the beaches. Adventure awaits in this diverse, beautiful and incredible country. 


During your placement, you will stay within our project ‘village’ located just outside the city centre which is made up of 20 small cottages, where the residents and staff reside. The accommodation is of very good quality by local standards and has running water, hot showers, and electricity, but electricity can be inconsistent because of load sharing. There is a caretaker/ security guard who attends to the gate of the village, the protection of the property and the safety of the residents and volunteers. You will have staff that will cook and clean for you and laundry services are provided once a week for volunteers in the Village laundromat.

The village has a large community garden, eating hall, sports area and library. The cottage has well-sized bedrooms and living spaces, and although basic, the cottage is clean and comfortable. There are two bedrooms (which can be either mixed or single-sex) with cupboards for clothing and personal belongings. There are two bathrooms; one shower and 1 bathtub and you will have a shared living room. The cottage is equipped with a refrigerator, television & DVD player, microwave and toaster. Most household items such as cleaning materials, toiletries and the like are provided by the project. 

There is no Wi-Fi 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.

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:


You will be provided with three meals per day cooked on-site at the village. Carbs, meats and vegetables are all staple parts of the diet in South Africa. 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 O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Upon arrival in South Africa, 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 the village to meet the project. 

Orientation is hosted by our local team where you will receive an introduction to your programme. This will cover information about South Africa, the culture and customs, expectations, safety, staff members, organisational partners, and an overview of the placement itinerary. 

Programme Fees:

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
What’s Included:

✔︎ Support in Country
✔︎ Transportation
✔︎ Accommodation
✔︎ Meals
✔︎ Weekly laundry and housekeeping
✔︎ Personal Development Training
✔︎ Professional Programme Support
✔︎ 24/7 In-country volunteer coordinator
✔︎ Registration at affiliate organizations

✔︎ 30 + hours of cross-cultural training
✔︎ 24/7 international support
✔︎ Weekends off for travel opportunities

After Care:

✔︎ Certificate of Learning (upon request)
✔︎ Employment opportunities. Join our team!
✔︎ Become a VI Ambassador
✔︎ Join the Vocational Impact alumni community
✔︎ We can provide you with Job references


Registration Fee:

In addition to the programme fee there is a £265 registration fee to secure your place on the programme. This registration fee includes:

Support Before you Travel

✔︎ Tailored placements to match your interests, career development goals or university subject
✔︎ Pre-departure support with paperwork
✔︎ Support with flights + insurance & visa advice
✔︎ Unlimited telephone and email support
✔︎ Fundraising guides
✔︎ Volunteer essential information guide
✔︎ Packing lists
✔︎ 100% financial protection + flexible booking and start dates

Where Does My Money Go:

Unlike other companies in the field, Vocational Impact is a charity organisation and operates under UK registered charity, Arms Around the Child. Your programme fees go towards providing you a safe, organised and structured volunteer placement and is reinvested directly back into our project partners in Africa and India.

We claim GiftAID on your donation fees (UK only), which means we can donate more directly towards the projects you will stay with. Vocational Impact are governed by the UK Charity Commission and we are a not-for-profit operation. We have been awarded ‘Ethical Travel Partner’ at many UK universities because of our unique model.

What’s Not Included:

✗ Flights
✗ Tourist Visa (if applicable)
✗ Travel Insurance
✗ Spending Money
✗ Vaccinations
✗ Police check/DBS


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