A psychiatrist is medically qualified and has trained in general medicine, surgery and various subspecialties of medicine, before specialising in psychiatry. A psychiatrist has expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental conditions. Psychiatrists are able to prescribe medications to treat mental illness, although have an awareness and involvement in a variety of other non-medication treatment options. A psychiatrist often heads a multi-disciplinary team and is charged with overseeing the variety of treatment options available.

Psychologists are not trained as doctors. Clinical psychologists are trained in the psychological assessment and treatment of clients. This is usually “talk therapies” and psychologists do not prescribe. There is some overlap between psychologists and psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are required to assist the court in making disposals subject to compulsory care under the mental health act and issues of insanity.