Psychology Wiki

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the main professional organisation of psychiatrists in the United Kingdom, and is responsible for representing psychiatrists, for psychiatric research and for providing public information about mental health problems. The college provides advice to those responsible for training and certifying psychiatrists in the UK.

The College has existed in various forms since 1841, having started life as the Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane.[1] In 1865 it became the Medico-Psychological Association.[2] In 1926, the Association received its Royal Charter, becoming the Royal Medico-Psychological Association. Finally, in 1971, a Supplemental Charter accorded the Association the status of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

In addition to publishing many books and producing several journals, the College produces, for the public, information about mental health problems. Its offices are located at 17 Belgrave Square in London.


Several grades of membership are available. Members use the post-nominal letters MRCPsych. Specialist Associateship of the College is open to registered medical practitioners working in the United Kingdom and who meet certain criteria. Affiliateship offers psychiatrists in the UK, who are not in training grades or substantive consultant posts, the opportunity of involvement with the College. Fellowship is awarded to a Member who has made a significant and distinctive contribution to psychiatry. Fellowship is not normally awarded until the nominee has held the Membership for a minimum of ten years. The process by which Members be awarded Fellowship of the College is that they should be nominated, proposed and seconded by two Members of the College. International Associateship may be awarded to psychiatrists with five years’ experience in psychiatry who do not hold the MRCPsych, but who hold a specialist qualification in psychiatry and who reside outside the UK.

College Centre for Quality Improvement

The work of the College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI) has created a new and enhanced role for clinicians and their professional bodies in raising standards. Its national initiatives engage directly with clinicians, managers and service users and support them to take responsibility for improving local mental health services. More than 90% of mental health services in the UK participate in the work of the CCQI.

College Policy Unit

The Policy Unit, part of the Communications and Policy Department, is responsible for the development and delivery of College policy to the membership and a range of external audiences. The College's Public Affairs and Parliamentary work is also undertaken by the Unit.

Core purposes

  • Set standards and promote excellence in psychiatry and mental healthcare
  • Lead, represent and support psychiatrists
  • Work with service users, carers and their organisations

The College is committed to patient-centred practice through:

  • Professionalism
  • Innovation and research
  • Lifelong learning
  • Fairness and inlusion
  • Ethical practice
  • Multidisciplinary working

The Royal College of Psychiatrists promotes mental health. Mental health can be compromised by many factors, including mental and physical illnesses, learning disabilities, personality disorders, lifestyle and life experiences.

The College collaborates with key players in the mental health field and are champions for improvements in the quality of mental healthcare throughout all sectors of society.

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Public education is at the heart of our activities and is an essential component of our website:

The College produces award-winning, evidence-based series of illustrated leaflets on common mental health problems. These are available in paper form and on the website.

The College publishes books, reports and educational materials for mental healthcare professionals.

It also publishes the four main UK psychiatric journals including the British Journal of Psychiatry, Psychiatric Bulletin, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment and International Psychiatry.

Interested in a career in psychiatry?

Mental illness is extremely common - research suggests that one person in four will experience some kind of mental health problem in their lifetime. Many of use may already have experience of mental health problems. We may have a relative, friend or partner who suffers from depression, or who has marital difficulties, problems with drugs or alcohol or is looking after a parent with dementia. These are issues that affect us all.

  • Psychiatrists are medically qualified doctors who have go on to specialise in the diagnosis of mental illness and who use a range of medications and therapies to help people recover. Doctors are attracted to psychiatry as a profession for a number of reasons.
  • Psychiatry is: innovative, exciting and rewarding; UK training schemes for would-be psychiatrists are some of the highest quality and well-structured on offer; working conditions are flexible with many opportunities for part-time working, making it attractive to women and doctors with families.

To find out more, whether as a school leaver or undergraduate medical student:

History of the College

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has been in existence in some form since 1841. First as the "Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane" (later changed to the Medico Psychological Association) then, in 1926 it received its Royal Charter to become the "Royal Medico Psychological Association, and finally, in 1971 receiving a Supplemental Charter to become the "Royal College of Psychiatrists"

Current contact details:
17 Belgrave Square
Tel: 020 7235 2351
Fax: 020 7245 1231

External links

Royal College of Psychiatrists website