New statistics from Health Education England, analysed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, show 307 doctors will start training this year in England to specialise in psychiatry, the most since 2009.

This is a rise from the 239 doctors who had chosen psychiatry at this stage of the recruitment process last year.

This suggests that the rise in mental health awareness, in part thanks to the candidness and honesty of high profile public figures, has inspired young people to become the mental health doctors of tomorrow.

With the most recent RCPsych Census showing 1 in 10 consultant posts are vacant across the country, the increase in those training to become psychiatrists is welcome news for services and patients alike.

Professor Wendy Reid, Health Education England's Director of Education and Quality said: “We have worked hard to ensure that mental health has the same prominence as physical health which means investing in and developing a sufficient workforce to help meet growing demand. This increase in fill rate for psychiatry training is a fantastic achievement for the profession and a huge step towards delivering tangible benefits for patients.”

Professor Wendy Burn, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: ‘This is truly sensational. As a psychiatrist for over 30 years, it is so exciting to see such a large number of doctors choosing to follow the same path. To everyone who accepted a post: you have made a brilliant decision and I welcome you all to the specialty’

Stephen Fry said: ‘I support the #ChoosePsychiatry campaign because I am only too aware from my own experiences that psychiatrists are vital to supporting people with mental illness. My psychiatrist saved my life. Physical health is important but nowhere near as exciting as the science of cognition and consciousness – so I am delighted that a record number of junior doctors this year have accepted posts in psychiatry. They are the people who will help patients of the future’

Lorraine Heggessey, Chief Executive of The Royal Foundation, which runs Heads Together said: ‘It’s very encouraging to see more trainee doctors choosing to follow a career in psychiatry. Through Heads Together we continue to campaign to break the stigma around mental health, and as more people come forward to seek support, it’s vital there are specialists there to help them.’

After medical school, trainees undergo a two-year foundation training programme to bridge the gap between medical school and further specialist training. After Foundation training, junior doctors choose to follow either General or Specialist medicine.

The six-year specialist psychiatry training programme is the final step in the journey to become a consultant psychiatrist – the most senior doctor specialising in mental health.

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