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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.
If you are a member of the College and would like to be added to
the database of volunteers, please complete the Volunteers
Registration Form. Once you are
registered you will be contacted as and when suitable
placements become available.
Institutions that are interested in making use of a psychiatrist
in the short or medium are invited to submit an Host
detailing the requirements and specifying the range of
"This three months experience was wonderful and a profoundly
creative experience. During this period I gained valuable
experience which will contribute to work with people from a wide
range of cultures.
"It also developed my skills to manage with limited
resources. This three month placement helped me to understand the
perception of mental health and illness in other cultures, the
impact of global recourses - that is financial, cultural and
environmental – on indigenous cultures and most importantly the
understanding of means by which mental health diagnosis and
treatment can be delivered where resources are scarce and the
ability to prioritise those scarce resources is vital.
"There were also personal challenges; living there was at
times quite lonely even though the people were extremely courteous
and very helpful. All in all this three month placement was
Dr Ashok N Singh, about his Solomon Islands placement
with the WHO Pacific Mental Health Network, 2010.
"It all seemed so different; the way the patients presented,
how staff approached them, the family’s involvement -
"Sometimes I’d feel compelled to advise the MAs to be more
inquisitive or speed up a dragging consultation though I’d also
remind myself of computer tutorials where the expert’s hands-off
approach forced me to do things myself.
"I hoped that was possible here, yet these were actual
patients and the MAs often appeared unaware of the risks
"However, it was also clear that they were the only staff
available to perform an incredible range of clinical duties,
including specialities like child and learning disability
psychiatry, as well as neurology and epilepsy."
Dr Greg Neate - Locum Consultant Psychiatrist, Sussex
Partnership, Out of Programme Experience in Ghana, May to August
"One of the most enjoyable aspects of working here is the
variety. No two days are the same, whether in terms of the work, or
as a consequence of the quirky little Malawian occurrences that
bring a smile or a shake of the head."
Dr Robert C Stewart, Volunteer Placement in Malawai, 2005 -
Other placements have included: Myanmar,
Kenya, Chennai, Nairobi and Bangladesh.
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