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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Volunteering and International Psychiatry Special Interest Group (VIPSIG)

Volunteering and International Psychiatry Special Interest GroupWelcome to the Volunteering and International Psychiatry Special Interest Group (VIPSIG). On this page you can sign up to the VIPSIG community and register for the volunteer scheme at the college and start promoting and supporting mental health globally.

You can also find information on current and past global volunteering projects and access a wealth of other VIPSIG resources.



Register for the RCPsych volunteer scheme




More about VIPSIG


VIPSIG is open to all members and associates of the College. We do also consider non-College membership from other disciplines on a case by case basis.

There are two ways Members of the College can join VIPSIG:

If you are not already a Member of RCPsych and would like to become one, register online.

Non-College members wishing to join VIPSIG should email Dr Sophia Thomson.


Register for the RCPsych volunteer scheme

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is committed to supporting mental health care across the world, particularly in countries that are known to suffer from an acute shortage of psychiatrists. The College’s volunteer scheme aims to facilitate contact between hospitals, clinics, projects and communities in need of psychiatric expertise and training, and psychiatrists who are willing to offer their time and support.

To register with the RCPsych volunteer scheme, you will need to complete and return the volunteers registration form.


Upcoming events

VIPSIG Spring Meeting

Date: Friday 2 March @ 2pm

Location: Royal College of Psychiatrists, London

Contact Sophie Thomson for details and agenda.


Recent events

VIPSIG Winter Meeting

Date: December 15 @ 2pm

Location: Tamarind Centre, Birmingham


VIPSIG Annual Day Conference 2017 - September 29
'Global Mental Health and Human Rights'

Read a summary of the sessions throughout the day:


About VIPSIG, news and further information

The aim of the Volunteering and International SIG is primarily altruistic. VIPSIG will promote and support mental health accessibility to all regardless of location and means.

VIPSIG hopes to support training and education in the international arena and will aim to:

  • Promote volunteer work overseas and expand the population of people interested in this work.
  • Be a voice that will inform the College and serve as an agent in this work.
  • Have a fundraising role in order to develop more volunteer possibilities.
  • Produce a newsletter in order to celebrate volunteerism in the UK and globally.
  • Establish e-groups in order to promote this field by regular discussion.
  • Promote appropriate training materials for volunteers overseas.
  • Explore web-based psychiatry training to assist training sites in mental health.
  • Establish links with non-governmental organisations and Diaspora communities.
  • Promote overseas electives for medical students and encouragement of psychiatry as a career.
  • Promote the overseas experience in psychiatry as a desirable attribute for the NHS.

As well as having an international focus, VIPSIG will also be a forum for volunteer work in the UK. This is an area that needs some development and will fit into the Government’s objectives. VIPSIG will function by e-groups, virtual and face-to-face meetings. We will aim to have our meetings throughout the UK.


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Please join us at our committee meetings, 2:00-4:30pm. (1:30-2:00pm for executive meeting). All disciplines, students, training grades and non-psychiatrists very welcome. (Please email beforehand to inform of your attendance as per building security policy).

  • Friday 15 December 2017 (RCPsych, London)