A psychiatrist is a qualified doctor who specialises in mental health issues. They are trained to assess people’s mental health, make a diagnosis and prescribe medications and other treatments. Psychiatrists often specialise in different areas of mental health, such as eating disorders, older people’s mental health and child and adolescent mental health. Psychiatrists are always involved in decisions about admitting people to hospital under the Mental Health Act.
Psychiatrists work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics and community teams – it depends on how services are organised in different areas. There will often be psychiatrists at different stages of their training and experience working at the same place. Nowadays, psychiatrists usually work in teams with a range of other professionals from different backgrounds, which means that a range of treatments and interventions can be made available.
As doctors, psychiatrists must be registered to practice – in the UK, this is through the General Medical Council, see the General Medical Council website.
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