Psychiatry specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental health conditions. A doctor who works in psychiatry is called a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medically qualified doctors who have chosen to specialise in psychiatry. This means they can prescribe medication as well as recommend other forms of treatment.
Psychiatrists are responsible for the medical care of patients who have received a psychiatric diagnosis (medication, physical symptoms, etc.) and are also involved in counselling. A psychiatrist usually works in a psychiatric hospital or unit, or as part of a community care team, but he or she can also be part of a private practice.
Accessing psychiatry services
Psychiatry services are accessed through referral from a health professional. Speak to your G.P. for more information about referral to services that can best meet your needs. When you see a psychiatrist, they will assess you - usually at a hospital out-patient clinic -form a diagnosis and treat you accordingly. Treatment may involve medication or referral to another member of the mental health team. If a psychiatrist thinks it necessary, he or she may suggest that a patient be admitted to hospital. This suggestion is generally only made if a person's difficulties are severe.