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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Christmas Debate for Young People 2013

Each year, the College's Public Education Committee holds a Christmas debate for young people. Secondary schools from across the Greater London area are invited to bring pupils aged 14-18. The debate is an excellent opportunity for young people to engage in discussions about mental health issues, and find out more about what psychiatrists do.

In 2013, due to popular demand, the debate was held twice - reaching a total audience of 400 young people. The motion was: 'This house believes there is no such thing as social drinking'.

Alcohol is consumed by many people to relax and be more sociable. However, in the UK levels of alcohol consumption are increasing. There is concern about the implications for the nation’s health and the link between alcohol and anti-social behaviour.  When introducing the Government’s recent Alcohol Strategy, the Prime Minister wrote, “We can’t go on like this.” The debate was designed to ask if there is such a thing as safe and responsible drinking, or has the time come to say enough is enough?

Speaking for the motion were Dr Chetna Kang and Dr Fareeha Amber Sadiq, and speaking against the motion were Dr Janaki Bansal and Dr Rory Conn. As usual, the debate was ably chaired by Public Education Committee Chairman Dr Jim Bolton, assisted by Dr Gil Myers who kept a close eye on comments that came in from the audience via Twitter.


Panel for Christmas Debate

Our excellent debating panel were (left to right): Dr Chetna Kang, Dr Rory Conn, Dr Jim Bolton, Dr Gil Myers, Dr Fareeha Amber Sadiq and Dr Janaki Bansal.


As always, the debate provoked lively discussion from the audience - both in the room and on Twitter. You can see a summary of the debate and a selection of the audience's Twitter comments on Storify.

The audience were invited to vote for or against the motion at both the beginning of the debate and the end. It was clear from the outset that the vast majority of the audience did not support the motion. Although our proposers put up a great argument in favour, they only managed to convince a few people - and in both in the morning and afternoon sessions the motion was soundly defeated.

Well done to all our debaters. We look forward to hosting another debate in 2014.


RCPsych Christmas Debate for Young People 2014

If you would like to suggest a topic for the 2014 debate, or register your interest in attending this year's debate, please email Thomas Kennedy, Communications Manager for Public Engagement or call 020 3701 2548.

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