DISTED COLLEGE NEWS
Field learning in mental healthcare
Psychology students interested in mental healthcare have bright vocational prospects.
“As we move towards being a developed nation, there’ll be increasing demand for mental healthcare services where clinical psychologists have an extremely important role to play,” said Dr Selvasingam Ratnasingam, Penang General Hospital consultant psychiatrist.
“Quality and competent psychological care is increasingly needed by our child, adolescent and geriatric population.
“As such, clinical psychologists can set up their own practice to meet the demand for mental healthcare services,” he said.
Dr Selva was speaking to DISTED College psychology students during their visit to the Psychiatric Ward and Occupational Therapy Department of the Penang General Hospital on 2 April 2010, which was organised by the college’s School of Psychology.
The psychiatrist briefed the students on the facilities and services provided by the hospital to mental patients. Chief matron Subaidah Mastan then took the students on a tour of the psychiatric and occupational therapy wards to view the facilities and observe the patients.
The students also dropped by Kafe Penyayang, the cafeteria operated by mental patients on occupational rehabilitation.
Student Lim Yin Tung said: “This educational trip is an enriching learning experience for us to get better acquainted with mental healthcare environment and services.”
“It’s my first-time insightful encounter with institutionalised mental patients and I’ve learnt more about the care and rehabilitation programmes for them.
“This exposure is useful as I’m keen in clinical psychology,” said Lim, who is pursuing the Bachelor of Psycholgoy (Hons) conducted at DISTED in collaboration with HELP University College.
“The event is also an enjoyable fraternity outing for us,” he added.
The students were accompanied by DISTED School of Psychology head Dr Gavin Macdonell and visiting lecturer Kenneth Phun Thean Ming, who is HELP University College Department of Psychology head.
“The event is an extracurricular activity for our students to see first-hand how the knowledge they acquire in the classroom is applicable in the real world,” Dr Gavin said.
“It’s also a great opportunity for them to meet with mental health professionals, a psychiatrist and psychiatric nurses, and observe the patients in the hospital.
“If our students continue with postgraduate studies, they could become clinical psychologists, and could also work in such a psychiatric setting.“But that would be just one of many career options available to our psychology students depending on their personal interests and keenness to further their studies at postgraduate level,” he said.
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