The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the professional medical body responsible for supporting psychiatrists throughout their careers, from training through to retirement. It sets and raises standards of psychiatry in the United Kingdom. It is an independent professional membership organisation and registered charity representing over 15,000 psychiatrists in the UK and Internationally. We aim to improve outcomes of people with mental illness: individuals, their families and communities. The College promotes excellence in psychiatry; leads, represents and supports psychiatrists; improves the scientific understanding of mental illness; works with and advocates for patients, carers and their organisations. Nationally and internationally, the College has a vital role in representing the expertise of the psychiatric profession to governments and other agencies.
The core purposes include:
- Set standards and promote excellence in psychiatry and mental healthcare
- Lead, represent and support psychiatrists
- Work with patients, carers and other organisations to deliver high quality mental health services
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How would you describe your organisation's role in contributing to the delivery of NSPA’s outcomes to reducing suicide and improving support for those bereaved or affected by suicide?
The Royal College of Psychiatrists is committed to reducing suicide and improving support for those bereaved or affected by suicide. We are at the forefront in setting and achieving the highest standards through education, training and research. We lead the way in developing excellence and promoting best practice in mental health services. We promote research and publish the results in our world-class psychiatric journals. We support members and associates throughout their careers to meet the requirements of continuous professional development, appraisal and revalidation, and provide practical support to those who have difficulties in meeting these requirements. The College Centre for Advanced Learning and Conferences includes training courses to develop the skills needed to train the next generation. Our portfolio includes suicide prevention training which equips psychiatrists and allied professionals to compassionately and robustly assess and respond safely to patients at risk of suicide. We collaborate with key players in the mental health/suicide prevention field and are champions for improvements in the quality of mental healthcare throughout all sectors of society. Public education is at the heart of our activities and is an essential component of our website. We strive to maximise the influence of the College in mental health and related policy in all four UK Countries and we will collaborate with relevant bodies to promote robust suicide prevent initiatives. We ensure that mental health continues to be at the heart of the public health agenda and that mental health issues are fully considered in emerging social care and welfare policies.
What are the current challenges to delivering NSPA’s outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?
Many mental health services under severe pressure, which will require both extra funds, new waiting times and access standards. The College is committed to ensuring parity of esteem between mental and physical health and this parity is required to ensure that the funding systems for mental health are similar to those for acute services. Robust and clinically relevant outcome measures are required. The future of the NHS requires integration between physical and mental health and yet sadly stigma and a lack of awareness within the wider NHS still needs to be improved despite significant in-roads to tackling stigma in the general population. We are committed to championing understanding of mental illness, suicidal thoughts and self-harm through our campaigning and political activities. We highlight the attitudes, skills and knowledge required by psychiatrists and our curriculum and examinations committee strive to ensure excellent standards are achieved so that our members can both put these into practice and disseminate them.