Call out for speakers

Each year the Royal College of Psychiatrists holds a debate for young people aged 15-18 at the College headquarters in central London.

We’re asking members if they’re interested in taking part this year, where the motion will be “This house believes that the pandemic has been good for our mental health".

This extract from the invitation being sent to schools gives examples of arguments on both sides of the debate, but there are, of course, many more:

All of our lives have changed during the pandemic. COVID-19 has not just caused physical infection, but has had implications for our individual mental health, and for society as a whole.

The pandemic has particularly affected the lives of young people. Schools were closed, exams were cancelled, and friends were unable to meet. It was predicted that waves of infection would be followed by a tsunami of mental illness, due to the stress of lockdowns and social isolation. Has this been the case?

Or might the pandemic have been beneficial for our mental health? Did the experience bring us closer together as we faced a common threat? Have we had a chance to think about what is really important in our lives.

Have we found new ways to keep in touch and support each other? Are we now more willing to discuss our mental health and to seek help if we need it?

You are invited to join two teams of psychiatrists to debate the motion: ‘This house believes that the pandemic has been good for our mental health’.

The debate will be held twice - on the morning and afternoon of Thursday 8 December 2022, with two speakers to propose and two to oppose the motion.

If you are interested in taking part as a speaker, please email Thomas Kennedy ( at the College and let him know if you have a preference for debating on one side of the motion or the other.

If there are several volunteers, the College will select debaters to have a mix of both male and female speakers. The event is a potential recruitment opportunity and a chance to destigmatise psychiatry, so we hope to have a diversity of participants as well as arguments.

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry