Arusha Mental Health Trust is an NGO located at Mt. Meru Regional Hospital in Arusha, about 30 minutes walk from the White House hostel. It was founded in 1996 due the excessive need of these services in Arusha, as there was very little awareness and help to gain within this field. The facility deals with mental health issues and to create awareness about these issues and the state of mind.
The team at AMHT consists of nurses with psychiatric training, counselors, psychotherapists, social workers and a mental health practitioner, whom through their experiences and knowledge provides psychological and psychiatric services. The facility deals with a variety of problems; anxiety, depression, substance abuse, problems within marriage and relationship, psychosomatic illness, trauma and stress-related problems, sexuality, sexual abuse and parenting concerns are just few of the subjects, the staff is working with on a daily basis.
The facility works with their clients through clinical assessment, counseling and therapy sessions through which the clients are educated on psychological issues and how to handle these with different individual tools.
As well as providing the above mentioned services, the facility does an enormous amount of work concerning both psychological, psychiatric and social aspects - there has been hosted a peer support group for parents and caregivers of schizophrenic children, field work to create awareness about child abuse, radio-exposure to create awareness of violence against women and much more.
This placement is a unique opportunity for psychology students and social workers to do their internships or to gain valuable experience through volunteer work. Due to the nature of the work and services provided at this particular placement, it is a must for volunteers to have experience within this field and to be enrolled in a education concerning either psychology or social work.
As a volunteer/during your internship you will be part of the team. Depending on your experience and wishes, you will be able to participate in clinical assessment and counseling of clients on site as well as participate in the social work conducted by the organization. Due to the language barrier, it will be difficult for students to perform counseling sessions on their own, which is why they will be supervised by a trained professional. The students will also be part of writing reports following sessions as well as post-session discussions about the future treatment plan of the clients.
During your stay within this organization, you will be ensured professional supervision on your work plus you will get a very different fieldwork experience. Through counseling with the Tanzanian community you will be faced with issues, stories and traumas very different from those you will experience for instance in Europe and western countries.
A typical day will start at 8 AM with the group meeting discussing the plan for the day. The group will delegate the work of today and you as a students will be given assignments or a mentor to follow. Typically the day will end around 1 or 2 for the students with another meeting evaluating the day's tasks and preparing for the coming day.
In order to get properly into the rhythms of the work in this organization, we require the volunteers to stay minimum 1 month. A part of your program-fees will go to the organization as salary for the time, the mentors will spend supervising the students to ensure the quality of the stay.