At a glance
- Work alongside local psychologists to address mental health issues in a mental health clinic or by taking part in community-based initiatives.
- You’ll encounter a wide range of patient profiles, which exposes you to a broad range of mental health issues.
- Raise awareness around these issues, so that people are better able to understand the importance of mental health.
16 or over
You should be studying towards a psychology or social work degree, or have a qualification in guidance counselling.
What will I do at my psychology placement in Jamaica?
There are two different options on this internship. Depending on your skills and experience, you can either work in a mental health clinic and hospital, or take part in outreach work in the local community. Tasks will include:
- Interact with and support patients
- Observe clinical assessments and play therapy
- Conduct educational sessions about mental health issues
- Assist with planning for different events
- Conduct research and data analysis
Interact with and support patients
Whichever internship option you choose, you’ll get the chance to interact with patients who have a variety of different conditions. At the mental health clinic, you will spend time interviewing patients, engaging children in the reception area, visiting patients in the hospital, and taking part in play therapy. If you choose the community-based option, you’ll take part in supervised home visits, and conduct conducting individual or group counselling sessions.
Observe clinical assessments and play therapy
At the mental health clinic, you will have the chance to observe clinical assessments of patients. This gives you great insight into how psychologists diagnose and treat people with mental illness. You may also have the opportunity to observe play therapy sessions, or take part in them, as mentioned above.
Conduct educational sessions about mental health issues
Raising awareness about mental health is important when it comes to breaking stigmas and helping people to identify signs of mental illness. Those who choose to work in the local community will conduct classroom guidance sessions, as well as parenting workshops, at a local high school. Topics will include self-esteem, anger management, conflict resolution, child abuse, and adjustment issues.
Assist with planning for different events
At the mental health clinic, you may also spend time planning and conducting workshops and presentations. Interns based in the community will also do something similar, assisting with the planning and running of seminars and special events. The overall aim is to educate people about mental illness, from treatment options to prevention.
Conduct research and data analysis
For interns at the mental health clinic, you may find yourself helping with research and data analysis. This research will focus on mental illness in the Jamaican context. You will examine risk factors and the affected or at-risk population, for example. The data will be then used for policy drafts or designing mental health programmes.
Where in Jamaica will I work?
You will be based in the large town of Mandeville, situated around 100 km west of the capital, Kingston. Interns work at a government-run mental health clinic for adults and children. If you choose the community-based option, you’ll spend time at a local high school and a home for the homeless and mentally challenged.
While Mandeville is fairly quiet, it has all the amenities you might need, such as restaurants, banks, and shops. Furthermore, there are many travel opportunities on the island, so you will be able to explore all that it has to offer. These include incredible natural wonders, a lively reggae music scene, and exciting activities such as river rafting.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Leisure activities and free time
When you think of the tropical Caribbean, Jamaica is one of the first countries that comes to mind. With its white-sand beaches and vibrant culture, this island nation has a lot to offer. It’s an amazing location to volunteer in, and explore during your free time.
The local cuisine is definitely worth trying, with tasty dishes like Jamaican patties and jerk chicken. You can enjoy these at seaside restaurants and then head down to the sea for a cooling swim in the ocean.
With a rich culture and friendly locals, exploring markets and museums is a must-do. Visiting the famous Bob Marley Museum in Kingston makes for an enlightening weekend trip. While you’re there, you can also tour Fort Charles and the National Heroes Park.
There will be other volunteers working on different projects in Jamaica while you’re there. This means you can choose to explore independently or connect with other volunteers and travel as a group.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Jamaica
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