Forensic Psychiatry

What is forensic psychiatry?

Forensic psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry that helps people with mental disorders who are a risk to the public. It evaluates and treats offenders in prisons, secure hospitals and members of the community with mental disorders. The specialty also investigates the correlation between mental disorders and criminal behavior and works with criminal justice agencies. Forensic psychiatrists work alongside the police, probation service, courts and prisons.

Forensic psychiatrists work with the police, probation service, courts and prisons.

What is a forensic psychiatrist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has completed additional training to understand the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. A forensic psychiatrist has additional training and experience in mental health along with the law.

Where do forensic psychiatrists work?

Most forensic psychiatrists work in:

  • Local community forensic psychiatry services.
  • Medium security units
  • Hospitals
  • Prisons

What do forensic psychiatrists do?

The role of a forensic psychiatrist includes coverage of clinical, administrative and teaching areas. They lead strong multidisciplinary teams and work in medium and high security hospitals. The specific duties of a forensic psychiatrist include:

  • Risk assessment.
  • Helping patients understand their risk
  • Helping patients reduce their risk
  • Helping patients understand their mental illness
  • Addressing anger management, stress management, employability and substance abuse
  • Rehabilitation to return to society
  • Offering support to family and friends
  • Strong connection with criminal justice agencies
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What is the difference between a forensic psychiatrist and a forensic psychologist?

Psychiatrists are medical doctors with specialized training in mental disorders and medical degrees. Psychologists do not go to medical school, but have a degree in psychology. They have special expertise in subjects that are not usually studied in detail by psychiatrists. Psychology involves the study of mental processes and behaviors.

The following areas of work are some in which forensic psychiatrists are more involved than forensic psychologists:

  • Patient care leadership teams.
  • Prescribing medication
  • Representing patients in court
  • Evaluating patients for court appearances
  • Conducting risk assessments on people with mental disorders within communities.