A new website and new money for research
I'll start today with the fact that this may well be one of the last presidential blogs in the current format.
Because, after investing a significant amount of money, effort, and time, the British Psychological Society will soon start to roll out a brand new website.
The new website will be much more engaging and accessible, and is particularly designed to help members of the public to access the work of the society.
It has been designed to help us better demonstrate the contributions of our members in various ways … including a new President’s blog.
We have a very good role model in the form of the Swedish Psychological Association. Their website is well known amongst the Swedish general public, who regularly use the site to find information about psychology and psychologists. They’ve shown that there is a real desire for this type of information.
We, of course, have a similarly ambitious goal to provide this service in the UK and to be the first port and call and the number one showcase for psychology. We will continually develop the Society’s internet presence across to demonstrate our commitment to this goals.
We have a great deal to offer, including sharing the sometimes unsung successes of our Boards and member networks.
And there’s more good news today in that the government has just announced has announced £816m of funding for health research over the next five years.
Of that amount £68m will be for mental health research, over £45m will go on dementia research and there will also be investment in research on cancer, obesity, health technology and many other areas of interest to psychology.
It’s a substantial investment and one that we welcome whole heartedly, but we must work to ensure that the focus on biomedical research is not at the expense of further research focused on the psychosocial aspects of mental health conditions and conditions which have a psychological impact.
Our Research Board will be leading our efforts to ensure that a substantial amount of this investment is spent on research into prevention and in finding and implementing the psychological and psychosocial interventions that really work.
And, finally, we’re looking forwards to the UK political party conference season, with a BPS presence at the three major party events.
As well as talking about opportunities from this new research investment, the subjects we shall be raising are: the psychology of political and strategic decision-making, our call for action on neurodisability in the offender population, dementia and our forthcoming report on the psychology of the condition, and psychology and the benefits system.
As we say:
"Psychology matters. The subject matter of politics - the well-being of citizens, security, economic prosperity, employment, relationships, criminal justice, education and healthcare - is fundamentally dependent on an understanding of how human beings think, feel, relate to one another, make sense of the world and make decisions about the things that matter.
"Political decisions have life and death consequences - when our economy suffers, people suffer, and when politicians lead us into conflict, the consequences are daunting. So it’s right that psychologists support and advise our politicians in the important job they do on our behalf."