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

Volunteering and International Psychiatry Special Interest Group



Volunteer and International Psychiatry Special Interest GroupThe Volunteering and International Psychiatry Special Interest Group (VIPSIG) was launched at the College on 22 June 2011. VIPSIG aims to promote and support mental health globally, focusing on the low and middle income countries as defined by the World Bank. The Group reports to the College Council and will relate to the College’s International Advisory Committee regarding volunteer activities.


New Year's message from the Chair



About us


Executive Committee






How to join

Twitter logo

About us


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.





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 read more about the scheme click here.











Volunteering and International Psychiatry Essay Prize



Executive Committee

Member  Year of Joining    Position
Dr Peter Hughes    2011 (E)       Chair
Dr Mandip Jheeta 2014 (E) Financial Officer
Dr Victor Doku         2011 (A)     Secretary





The Committee aims to meet up to 6 times a year. The maximum term for the elected officers (Chair andj Financial Officer) is 4 years. All other appointments to the Committee are non-tenured and by invitation, and the Executive welcomes expressions of interest from members who would wish to play an active role in the planning and running of this Special Interest Group.










VIPSIG meetings:










Scotland Malawi Mental Health Education Project (SMMHEP) - produced and directed by Deirdre Elphick. More information about the project can be found on the website.



How to join


VIPSIG is open to all members of or associates of the College. Non-College membership from other disciplines will also be considered.


  • Members of the College can join VIPSIG via Members or by contacting the College’s Membership Office on 020 7235 2351 Ext. 6280 or 6281.






All cheque payments should be made out to the 'Royal College of Psychiatrists'. Please include details of the payment such as what the payment is for and name of the SIG.