Updates from the British Psychological Society’s Policy team

From Ella Rhodes.

The second Psychological Government briefing, ‘Cognitive strain in Parliament: How can we reduce psychological stressors to improve policy-making?’, examines, from a psychological perspective, what the role of an MP looks like in practice from an occupational perspective, and what are the psychological rami cations faced by our elected representatives once they enter parliament. See www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/cognitive-strain-parliament

The expert reference group of the BPS member-led senate campaign, From Poverty to Flourishing, has identifed three key themes to underpin its policy-influencing objectives: Foundations and Early Years Development, Agency and Empowerment, and Community Based Approaches. Through conversations with policy-makers, the team are calling for a paradigm shift in how poverty is understood in order for better policy-based solutions to be developed. Saskia Perriard-Abdoh, BPS Policy and Government Relations Manager, said: ‘There is a growing understanding, especially in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, that policy measures that don’t consider people’s agency, choice and lived experiences will only remain surface level compromises at their best and lead to undue harm, paternalism and stigma at their worse.’

In partnership with Lisa Cameron MP (pictured, above) the team successfully lobbied for a Westminster hall debate on mental health support for frontline workers to take place. On the day, the BPS’s key policy recommendations were read out in full during the debate, receiving a Ministerial reply. The BPS was also the only medical professional body to be selected to present during Parliament’s Evidence Week, where they will be continuing to present BPS work on addressing NHS staff burnout and wellbeing.

The team is also continuing to support the growing work of the BPS Covid-19 Coordinating group. Perriard-Abdoh said: ‘We are especially delighted that, following our response to the House of Lords “Call for Evidence” on the long- term implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for our economy and society, we were specifically invited to present during an inquiry evidence session and contribute to a follow-up inquiry which aims to look at how an increasing reliance on digital technology, accelerated by the pandemic, may impact our wellbeing.’ You can watch Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Northern Ireland Chair of the BPS Division of Clinical Psychology Professor Nichola Rooney’s (Queen’s University Belfast) testimony here: tinyurl.com/y2px53lw.

For more information or to talk to the policy team email [email protected] To keep up-to-date with the latest Psychological Government programme developments see: www.bps.org.uk/psychological-government

BPS Members can discuss this article

Already a member? Or Create an account

Not a member? Find out about becoming a member or subscriber