Opportunities in psychiatry

Mental illness is more common and prevalent than many people think. 

In fact, it ranks alongside cardiovascular disease and cancer as the UK’s biggest health problems. So if you choose psychiatry, you’ll be entering a demanding and complex field.

Psychiatry provides six specialties that offer doctors highly rewarding and varied roles. You’ll work with people of all ages and from all walks of life with a wide range of mental health problems from addictions and anxieties to dementia and schizophrenia.

What it takes to succeed

Doctors in psychiatry need to feel comfortable working across different settings from hospitals and GP clinics to a patient’s own home. 

You’ll be required to take a holistic approach so you’ll need excellent interpersonal, medical and psychiatric skills. You’ll need to show empathy and compassion to each and every patient, while applying psychiatric principles, processes and your knowledge.

Psychiatrists tend to work with their patients over a long period of time so you’ll develop a doctor/patient relationship. You’ll get to know and understand your patient and often their family and carers too.

Witnessing the life-changing impact of your work is highly rewarding.

Explore psychiatry roles now

Discover the different roles within psychiatry to find what interests you most:

And see the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Choose psychiatry information, including a guide to download, video, and range of careers information and blog posts. 

Make a comment or report a problem with this page

Help us improve

This form is for you to tell us about something that could be improved about the website or if there's anything wrong, incorrect or inaccurate with what you see. 

If you have a query about a career in the NHS, please visit our contact us page and call or email us.