The aim of the Volunteering and International Special Interest Group (VIPSIG) is primarily altruistic – we promote and support mental health accessibility to all regardless of location and means.

VIPSIG supports training and education in the international arena and aims to:

  • promote volunteer work overseas as well as in the UK 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 is also 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 functions by e-groups, virtual and face-to-face meetings. We 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 register with the RCPsych volunteer scheme, you will need to complete and return the volunteers registration form.

VIPSIG is open to all members and associates of the College.

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

You can also join us on Facebook.

Upcoming events

The VIPSIG Annual Conference will be held at the College in London on 11 October 2024. See the events page for more details, once booking opens. 

Past events

VIPSIG Annual Conference 2023

  • Date: Friday 27 October 2023
  • Venue: in person at the RCPsych.

Event info here.

International Psychiatry and Volunteering training in the North East

  • Dates: 26 and 27 November 2022
  • Venue: St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth

VIPSIG Annual Day Conference – Volunteering Preparedness

  • Date: Friday 14 October 2022
  • Location: Royal College of Psychiatrists, London

VIPSIG supportive supervision workshop

  • Date: 20 October 2021
  • Location: Online event

Volunteering Skills: How to be an effective and professional international volunteer

WHO Humanitarian mhGAP and Psychological First Aid One day Orientation

  • Date: 13 September 2019
  • Location: Royal College of Psychiatrists, London
  • Please see conference agenda for further information.

VIPSIG Annual Day Conference – eLearning Opportunities and Challenges

  • Date: Tuesday 18 September 2018
  • Location: Royal College of Psychiatrists, London

VIPSIG Executive Meeting – Business Meeting welcoming new Regional Representatives

  • Date: Friday 22 June 2018
  • Location: Royal College of Psychiatrists, London

Contact us

If you have any enquiries about the VIPSIG please contact sigs@rcpsych.ac.uk.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry