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Consultant Psychiatrist in General Adult Psychiatry, Global
Mental Health Specialist, Southwest London and St George's Mental
Health NHS Trust.
Dr Hughes is a consultant psychiatrist
and is Chair of The Royal College of Psychiatrists'
London Division. He also founded the RCPsych Special Interest
Group in Volunteering and International Psychiatry (VIPSIG).
Dr Hughes has been a World Health
Organization (WHO) Consultant on the Mental Health Gap Action
Programme (mhGAP) in low and middle-income countries and during
humanitarian crises, working in West Africa during the Ebola crisis
and also in the mental health field in Asia and the Middle
East. He has been Mental Health Lead for the King's Sierra Leone
Partnership since 2015.
Declaration of interests:
Dr Hughes: 'When preparing this module, I
have referenced standard literature and guidelines, as well as my
own experiences and learning from field experience as a
psychiatrist in the UK. I have also seen psychiatrists in good
faith going to emergencies and not following international
This can lead to unproductive work and a
risk of not following the principle of "do no harm". For this
reason, I am very happy to have this opportunity to share some of
the principles that UK-based psychiatrists should follow.
Before starting this type of work, I
imagined I would be doing a lot of clinical work that focused
heavily on PTSD and severe mental health conditions. In this module
I will describe how it is far from the case. The role of the
UK-based psychiatrist needs to be much broader in humanitarian
crises in order to cover public health and training, as well as to
help meet the basic needs of the people affected and assist with
grief and loss.
The question a UK-based psychiatrist may
pose to themselves is "what I can do in this setting of such chaos
and need?" In this module I hope to provide answers to this
question, based on evidence and good practice.'