A psychiatrist is a medically-qualified practitioner who will have spent a few years training as a doctor at university. He or she will then have worked as a doctor in general medicine and surgery, before choosing to work in helping people with mental health problems.  After a few years working with people of different ages, a child and adolescent psychiatrist chooses to specialise in working with young people and their carers and families, with the special needs of children in mind. After a number of years doing this they become a specialist.

What are a psychiatrist’s special skills? All psychiatrists will learn how to:

  • Assess a person’s state of mind
  • Use the “bio psycho-social” model of understanding. This emphasises the importance of a person’s past experiences, family, culture, surroundings and work as well as any medical and physical features.
  • Diagnose a mental illness
  • Use a range of psychological treatments
  • Use a range of medications
  • Help a person recover

As well as these ‘core’ skills, a psychiatrist will work with other non-medical colleagues to ensure that a patient gets the best and safest possible care.

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