Is psychiatry a dying field?

As a psychiatrist you have never been more in demand. Health Workforce Australia has predicted that the nation will face a critical shortage of around 450 psychiatrists by the year 2025. Fewer medical students are choosing to specialise in Psychiatry, and without recruiting overseas doctors, this figure could double.

The word psychiatry invokes thoughts of the early 1900s: Freud and frontal lobotomies. However, alongside its medical counterparts, psychiatry has advanced somewhat in the last 30 years. Psychiatrists incorporate neurological research to treat patients with diagnosable mental disorders.

The demise in medical students choosing psychiatry has been attributed to the public opinion that psychiatric research is funded by the pharmaceutical industry. However, the reality is, this isn’t the case only for psychiatry. Most medical research is funded by pharmaceutical companies, and this shouldn’t put you off joining a thriving medical field with so many benefits.

Why Specialise in Psychiatry?


Psychiatry is among the best financially rewarded careers, with salaries of up to $445K. Meaning you will earn more than many of your medical colleagues; and working in one of the top 10 highest-earning jobs in Australasia.


Psychiatrists are in demand all over the world. Specialising in psychiatry will open up a whole world of opportunity to live and train overseas.

New initiatives, such as telepsychiatry, mean that psychiatric services can be provided remotely. Australia and New Zealand have been international leaders in applying this initiative. Therefore you are in a great place to make a difference to the profession.

Work/life balance

You will work close to business hours. If you are currently working shifts as a junior doctor and hating every second, General Practice is not your only option.

In the private sector, psychiatrists often dictate their own hours. This means maintaining an enjoyable work/life balance, while still earning an attractive salary.


Technology in Psychiatry is advancing every day. While some believe psychiatrists have become ‘pill pushers’, the reality is that we are in a very exciting era of neuroscience. Our understanding of how the brain works is more advanced now than ever before. With the ever-increasing demand from mental health, the RACP (Royal Australasian College of Psychiatrists) believes this will continue to develop.

There is also the opportunity to work with Australian Indigenous, and New Zealand Maori and Pacific Islanders – incorporating traditional models between cultures.

Increase in mental health issues and awareness

The modern stressors of today’s society: the economy, threats of terrorism, and the breakdown of families, are causing more and more mental health issues.

Research is emerging which shows mental health is at the core of many medical issues. As a doctor, psychiatry is one of the main areas with a wealth of opportunity to really make a difference in the lives of your patients.   **So, what’s stopping you from working in a profession in which you could practice all over the world, earn up to $445K per year, and make remarkable medical advancements? **

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Rachael Walsh
15 February 2021Article by Rachael WalshMedrecruit Editor