Psychology student travels to Sri Lanka to deliver vital mental health care

Jemima Fischbach, a BA Psychology student at London Met, spent her summer volunteering in a special needs facility in Sri Lanka.

Date: 25 September 2015

Gaining real life work experience can be as important for students as academic achievement. Jemima Fischbach, a current BA Psychology student at London Met, decided to venture outside the UK to gain valuable work experience.

Jemima travelled to the island of Sri Lanka to participate on a Special Needs Placement organised by SLV, a volunteer organisation founded in 2010 by Psychology Graduates.

For five weeks this summer Jemima shared her skills and ran therapeutic activity sessions at centres for individuals with varying specific needs. “My placement involved leading and teaching sessions for children and adults with a range of disabilities” Jemima said. “I also taught English to children and adults in a number of different institutions.”

Mental health care in Sri Lanka is in its infancy. The stigma for those with mental health issues is still widespread, and with just one psychiatrist for every 500,000 people. In the past five years, over 1000 psychology students have joined SLV to dedicate their time to supporting people with mental health issues in Sri Lanka.

Jemima was trained and supported by Sri Lankan Mental Health professionals to help equip her with the skills to work sensitively within the Sri Lankan culture, and in thoroughly under-resourced facilities and challenging environments.

“SLV has been a truly amazing experience where I have not only gained training and knowledge in specific areas of psychology I have also grown as a person” said Jemima.

“The best part of the experience was meeting the amazing national team and working together to make a positive difference to those we taught. The children and adults in Sri Lanka appreciated every little thing.”

Jemima joined London Met in 2013 and has so far found the course to be fulfilling “with some excellent lecturers aiding the process and meeting some great people along the way” she commented “and I heard about the volunteer opportunity through university too.”

Jemima returns from her adventure to begin her final year next week, “I would highly recommend SLV for psychology placements” she said, “you will gain useful skills and come back with unforgettable memories.”

To learn more about SLV opportunities click here.

To learn more about Psychology at London Met click here.

Jemima and her friends jump for joy in blue skies in Sri Lanka