Are you helping to run a Psychsoc, a member of a Psychsoc, or thinking of joining one? These pointers will help you make the most of your Psychsoc experience.
Inviting people for a talk
Topics to cover
When you think about events, ensure they are on topics which will be of interest to students.
It is particularly useful to cover topics that are not covered in the curriculum – for example gender identity disorder, mental illness in different cultures, war and psychiatry, mentally ill doctors, or you could get a psychiatrist to talk about a recent media story.
Who to invite
Remember that psychiatrists are not the only people who can talk about mental illness: there are many psychologists, philosophers, sociologists, or even professors of English or History who can give a different perspective.
Most crucially of all there are also patients: people who have experienced serious mental distress may be best placed to give fascinating talks on their personal journey.
Your consultant advisors or mental health charities such as Rethink or the Manic Depression Fellowship may be able to point you in the right direction.
Make contact with your Devolved Nation or local Division to find out who you could speak to locally. You can also contact us if you’re looking for a speaker on a particular topic or for suggestions for particular speakers.
A talk from someone who did a psychiatry elective
Were there many students who did an elective in psychiatry at your medical school?
If so, invite them to talk about their experience.
They can not only provide details of how students go about arranging such experiences, but could also talk about how the practice of psychiatry differs internationally and in different health care systems.
Event ideas with a difference
Exam revision sessions
Students always like exam revision sessions so you could think about arranging a psychiatry revision session for OSCEs.
Such sessions are usually very popular and an opportunity to build students’ confidence with their psychiatric skills, as well as publicise the other activities of the society.
Learn about different types of psychiatry: ‘Speed dating’ style
There are numerous sub-specialties within psychiatry such as psychotherapy, child and adolescent, liaison, old age, and forensic.
Buy wine and nibbles and set up a speed-dating format where students have 5 minutes finding out about each sub-specialty.
Film screenings and a chat
Film screenings of popular movies featuring psychiatrists, psychiatry or mental illness are a good way of attracting an audience.
This can be followed by a discussion about the film and how mentally ill characters or psychiatrists were portrayed.
You could also consider working with organisations such as Medfest
Remember to include freebies
Remember that medical students love freebies! So, where possible, buy some snacks, refreshments and wine.
Also the Royal College of Psychiatrists may be able to provide you with free pens and bookmarks which you can give out.
Pre-clinical medical students tend not to have much exposure to patients and will jump at the opportunity for some clinical shadowing.
Through your contacts you can arrange for them to shadow a registrar or consultant for the day.
If you need help with your Psychsoc
The National Student Psychiatry Network Facebook group is used to communicate between PsychSocs, including asking for advice on how to set up a society.
The College can provide funding to support Psychsoc events.