Around 20,000 Psychology Graduates will apply for a Clinical Psychology Doctorate in 2015. There are only 550 spaces. This means under 4% of applicants will be successful and, in many cases, this will not be the first year that they have applied.
University of Chichester student, Zoe Wagland, knows first-hand how difficult gaining a place on the Clinical Psychology doctorate course can be. With such fierce competition in Clinical Psychology, work experience carries as much weight as academic achievement, if not more.
The problem is that finding hands-on Psychology Work experience is not always easy, Zoe decided to venture further afield to gain the crucial experience she needed, travelling to the Island of Sri Lanka to participate in a Mental Health Placement. For 4 weeks this summer Zoe shared her skills at Psychiatric Hospitals and ran therapeutic activity sessions at centres for individuals with various specific needs. This placement was organised by SLV, a volunteer organisation founded in 2010 by Psychology Graduates in a similar position to Zoe.
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, there is still a long way to go. In the past 5 years, over 1000 Psychology students have joined SLV to dedicate their time to supporting people with mental health issues in Sri Lanka to reduce the care deficit by boosting the existing resources in place, and offering stimulating therapeutic activity sessions for service users during all stages of their recovery.
The SLV Mental Health Placement is partnered with the King’s College London Resource Centre for Trauma, Displacement and Mental Health. Zoe 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.
Zoe Wagland- "My time in Sri Lanka has made this the best summer of my life, I have made friends who I am going travelling with again next year, I experienced things I never thought I would, and came home with a whole new perspective on life and an understanding of the issues that psychologists in another culture face on a day-to-day basis.”