Royal College of Psychiatrists
The Royal College of Psychiatrists is the main professional organisation of psychiatrists in the United Kingdom, and is responsible for representing psychiatrists, for psychiatric research and for providing public information about mental health problems. The college provides advice to those responsible for training and certifying psychiatrists in the UK.
The College has existed in various forms since 1841, having started life as the Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane. In 1865 it became the Medico-Psychological Association. In 1926, the Association received its Royal Charter, becoming the Royal Medico-Psychological Association. Finally, in 1971, a Supplemental Charter accorded the Association the status of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
In addition to publishing many books and producing several journals, the College produces, for the public, information about mental health problems. Its offices are located at 17 Belgrave Square in London.
Several grades of membership are available. Members use the post-nominal letters MRCPsych. Specialist Associateship of the College is open to registered medical practitioners working in the United Kingdom and who meet certain criteria. Affiliateship offers psychiatrists in the UK, who are not in training grades or substantive consultant posts, the opportunity of involvement with the College. Fellowship is awarded to a Member who has made a significant and distinctive contribution to psychiatry. Fellowship is not normally awarded until the nominee has held the Membership for a minimum of ten years. The process by which Members be awarded Fellowship of the College is that they should be nominated, proposed and seconded by two Members of the College. International Associateship may be awarded to psychiatrists with five years’ experience in psychiatry who do not hold the MRCPsych, but who hold a specialist qualification in psychiatry and who reside outside the UK.
Coat of arms 
The coat of arms incorporates the traditional serpent-entwined rod of Asclepius symbolic of medicine, and butterflies associated with Psyche. Previous to the grant of these arms, the Medico-Psychological Association had used a device showing the seated Psyche with butterfly's wings. The arms were originally granted to the Royal Medico-Psychological Association in 1926, and were confirmed to the College on its formation in 1971 by the College of Arms. They were also registered in Scotland by the Court of the Lord Lyon.
College Centre for Quality Improvement 
The work of the College Centre for Quality Improvement (CCQI) has created a new and enhanced role for clinicians and their professional bodies in raising standards. Its national initiatives engage directly with clinicians, managers and service users and support them to take responsibility for improving local mental health services. More than 90% of mental health services in the UK participate in the work of the CCQI.
College Policy Unit 
The Policy Unit, part of the Communications and Policy Department, is responsible for the development and delivery of College policy to the membership and a range of external audiences. The College's Public Affairs and Parliamentary work is also undertaken by the Unit.
See also 
- Bewley, Thomas (2008), Madness to Mental Illness: A History of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, London: The Royal College of Psychiatrists, ISBN 9781904671350
- Royal College of Psychiatrists website
- Information about mental health problems
- Access the journals online