A career in...
A career in psychiatry
Psychiatrists work in acute hospitals or in the community to treat the mental disorders that affect one in four people each year
- By: Jasdev Grewal, Reena Panchal
Psychiatry involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of myriad mental health disorders that can affect patients from childhood through to old age. The specialty is a government priority, with ministers pledging to achieve “parity of esteem” for mental and physical health.1 Psychiatry incorporates the treatment of patients with acute and chronic disease, pharmaceutical and psychological interventions, and more recent advances in neuroscience.
A good psychiatrist needs people skills and an interest in exploring and understanding patients’ backgrounds and experiences using the biopsychosocial model.2
Psychiatrists’ holistic understanding of the physical, mental, social, and behavioural aspects of mental health problems allows them to diagnose and treat both the physical and emotional effects of mental disorders.
Psychiatrists often liaise with other mental health professionals—for example, to arrange the provision of psychological therapies. As most mental health problems are managed in primary care, psychiatrists are likely to see patients with more severe mental health