Dr Mark Salter on changes to Hackney and the East End of London over the last 30 years, and the impact of religion and inequality on mental health

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Mark Salter qualified in East London in 1983 and after two years working at junior level as an anaesthetist began training as a psychiatrist, obtaining MRCPsych in 1989. In 1994 he became a Consultant in Adult General Psychiatry at St Bartholomew's and the Homerton Hospitals in London and, apart from a one-year sabbatical working in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, has remained in this post to the present.

He is presently responsible for the provision of adult general psychiatric care to a deprived inner city area which is extremely varied in terms of psychopathology and socio-cultural make-up. His day-to-day work routinely brings him into clinical contact with psychiatric disorders including depression, schizophrenia, PTSD and organic cerebral syndromes. His professional areas of special interests include the ethics of psychiatry, the psychopathology of trauma, substance misuse and community care.

Because of his interests in ethics, mental illness and trauma, he has for the past 18 years run a fortnightly medico-legal clinic . This work has dealt with diverse topics of testamentary capacity, issues of causation in post traumatic stress and other reactive disorders, unexplained pain and other ‘physical’ conditions, as well as disorders such as psychotic illnesses, substance misuse and personality disorders.

He has an interest in the media representation of psychiatric illness and the role of serious incident enquires in the management of homicides and suicides committed by the mentally ill. He is an adviser to the Mental Health Charity MIND and the Jewish Association for Mentally Ill (JAMI). He has published numerous articles and letters on the field of substance misuse, schizophrenia, risk and untowardness, mental health legislation and community psychiatry. In 2008, he published Outdoor Psychiatry, an innovative handbook on community psychiatric care.

In addition to his clinical work, he is committed to public education in order to improve understanding of complexities surrounding mental illness. He has worked on many radio and television programmes on BBC, ITV and Channel 4 and he has also helped with many theatrical performances. Earlier this year he helped the Royal Ballet Company to produce a modern reworking of Greek myth of Cassandra, as an honest and contemporary depiction of manic-depressive disorder.

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