Sustainable psychiatrists – where to begin!
19 December, 2022
Dr Katie Blissard Barnes - a Higher Trainee and member of the College's Sustainability and Planetary Health Committee - signposts some great resources for psychiatrists looking to better understand, and implement, sustainable practices into their work.
With the regular Lancet Countdown reports and the Greener NHS Programme, it is clear that we are understanding how urgent the need to address climate change really is and the reality that the climate crisis is a health crisis.
With that understanding, has come a will to act and we are delighted to see more and more psychiatrists and trainees asking how they can help. Our website is a great place to start. We have loads of resources to get stuck into in order to increase your knowledge further, as well as identify other networks you might wish to join. There is of course also our Top Ten Tips which is a great starting point to consider what actions you might take next. Our Position Statement meanwhile, highlights the importance of this to the College.
We’ve also compiled a webpage looking at the winners of the RCPsych Sustainability award over the past few years and what projects they’ve undertaken. Sometimes we don’t need to reinvent the wheel and create an entirely new project, but rather we can take a project that has worked elsewhere and implement it in our own Trust. The beauty of these projects is that it gets others on board, it encourages discussions, spreads education and learning, and gets some real results which can be used to encourage even more action!
Asking your Trust for their Green Plan demonstrates your interest in this area and it can be useful to know what your Trust wants to focus on in their plan and who the key people are working on this. Considering sustainability in your QI projects can lead to meaningful outcomes that can be widely implemented across your Trust and lead to real change. Taking opportunities to attend some of the many events going on across the country can be eye-opening, informative and motivating when you see the passion so many of us have. The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare has a regular newsletter (as well as their fantastic courses!), as does Greener NHS for keeping updated.
And last but absolutely not least, is to take time out to look after ourselves. There is a lot of passion in this area as well as fear, sadness and possibly anger. Acknowledging those feelings and taking time to take care of your own wellbeing is absolutely vital so we can keep our enthusiasm and energy high. Reaching out and finding others, especially in your Trust, can be a great way of supporting each other and spending time in nature to reconnect to what you’re trying to protect.