If you are worried about your mental health, making an appointment to see your GP is a good place to start.
Going to see your GP (general practitioner or family doctor) can be a huge step towards recovery, but can also be a very difficult process. For many people it can be frightening or worrying – admitting there is an issue and dealing with the fear of being judged or misunderstood.
Sometimes people are not sure exactly how their doctor can help or they may be resistant to going to the doctor because they may feel concerned about being given medications; or they may feel that counselling or talking therapies are pointless and won’t help.
Speaking to the GP can help to access treatment – and can help make the doctor aware of how things are just now in case the situation gets worse over time.
- Ask for a double appointment to allow more time to talk
- Write a list of things you want to discuss
- Practice what you will say to the doctor on your own or with someone else
- Keep a diary of how you’re feeling day to day, noting any significant situations or relationships that are contributing to how you are feeling
- Ask someone else to attend the appointment with you
More than GP support
You or a loved one might be in need of more than GP support. Some support is only available through referral to your Community Mental Health Team.
The Community Mental Health Team is a team of mental health professionals who work to support people in the community who are struggling with their mental health and need extra support.
On referral to the team, the person’s needs will be assessed and they will be provided with a key worker who will be their main point of contact. This is usually a Community Psychiatric Nurse. If you or a family member or friend is really struggling with day to day life then you could ask them to speak to their GP about a potential referral.
It can take pressure off your shoulders if you know that your family member or friend is getting support from a mental health professional who is discussing relevant support services with them. As with preparing for an initial GP appointment, preparation and support can help here.