Government and Politics

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This week’s blog bisects a busy week for me, with BPS business taking me to Brighton, London, Edinburgh, back to London and Llandudno, and extending from Sunday morning to Saturday afternoon.

My first appointments were at the Liberal Democrat Conference. I believe it is important for us, and indeed our colleagues in the other medical Royal Colleges, to be present at these events, even if little material work is done.

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The British Psychological Society is delighted at the government’s announcement today of £816m investment in many vital areas of health research including dementia, obesity and adult’s and children’s mental health.

This commitment from the Department of Health recognises the need for more funding for research into preventing mental health conditions, and other conditions which have a psychological impact, and in finding interventions that really work.

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Our President Professor Peter Kinderman will be attending the conferences of all three main party conferences this autumn as part of our work to ensure that policymaking is informed by the findings of psychological science.

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Psychologists have drawn up a three-stage plan to help politicians improve their relationship with their electorate and boost turnout at elections.

The plan can be found in the British Psychological Society’s new briefing paper ‘Behaviour Change: Voter apathy’, which has been published for this year’s party conference season.

Drawing on psychological research into voter behaviour, the plan says politicians should:

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An understanding of human psychology must be incorporated into the decision-making process so politicians can learn from their mistakes and make better decision in the future.

That is the argument of a briefing produced for the 2016 party conference season by the British Psychological Society.

Making Better Decisions’ looks at patterns of thinking that can get in the way of making better decisions and proposes changes to political culture that would help politicians overcome them.

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The current edition of Private Eye (publication date 4th August 2016) outlines concerns about the regulation of psychologists. In particular, the journalists comment that; “providing psychologists don’t use one of the … so-called protected titles … any can offer their services without the need to be registered and regulated by the UK’s watchdog the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Even if serious concerns or complaints are raised about them, they remain immune from investigation because they’re not registered”.

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An expert on the psychology of political crisis is to receive this year’s Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge from the British Psychological Society.
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I thought, last week, that the political world could not get any more turbulent. But events in the South of France, in the USA, in Turkey, and even here in the UK, proved me wrong.

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Representatives of 16 organisations in the mental health sector, including our President Professor Peter Kinderman, have signed a letter published in The Times today that calls on Theresa May to prioritise the nation’s mental health.
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The British Psychological Society is actively engaged in several important policy issues, but two are particularly contentious. They are technically complex and they are personally challenging.

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The Chilcot Report into the decision to go to war in Iraq has highlighted the irrationality and psychological vulnerability of our leaders, and how disastrous the consequences can be.

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Psychologists have an important role in supporting their community in planning for, handling and dealing with the aftermath of disasters

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Discussions of visual art as a method to advance observation, critical thinking and communication skills.

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Develop competence as psychologists working with refugee and asylum seeking people and where appropriate communities

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An exploration of Liberation Psychology: in its original context and applied to social problems of the UK today.

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If you are a politician then losing your seat is dislocating and may be bad for your health.

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If you are a politician then losing your seat is dislocating and may be bad for your health.

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Jeremy Corbyn’s tactic of asking questions sourced from members of the public has had some effect in making Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) less adversarial, so influencing the style of political debate.

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An in-depth interview with a formerly violent right-wing extremist has provided psychologists with rare insights into the processes of disengagement and deradicalisation.

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In light of today's report by the BBC showing that some people with psychological problems are having to wait years for therapy, The British Psychological Society calls on the next Welsh Government to make improving access to mental health services their immediate priority.

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Following the airing of Channel 4’s Dispatches programme The Great Benefits Row on Monday 11 April 2016, the BPS is extremely concerned about the appropriateness of the training, behaviour and outcome goals of some disability assessors employed by Capita as depicted on the programme.

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