Are You Getting The Health Support You Need?

While our general awareness of mental health issues is improving, various factors are pointing towards an impending mental health crisis.

The ill health, disruption and worry caused by the pandemic are still lingering, having already driven a record high in referrals to mental health services. This has since been compounded by a major cost-of-living crisis with inflation recently hitting a 41-year high. All things considered, it’s increasingly vital to care for your mental health in any way possible.

That’s often easier said than done, of course. Reaching out takes courage, while mental health services can be difficult to access. But talking to your GP may still help you get the support you need - and knowing what to expect might ease your worries.

When To See A GP About Your Mental Health

woman crying

In short, it is worth speaking to your local GP if you’ve noticed any worrying changes in the way you think and feel.

There might be an obvious reason for such a change, for example losing a loved one or struggling at work. Sometimes the cause is less obvious or a combination of things. Whatever the case, it’s perfectly reasonable and sensible to seek help.

What Might Happen At A GP Appointment

Nervous about speaking to someone? Understanding what your appointment could involve may help you feel less anxious.

Your GP will likely form an initial assessment based on questions about your thoughts and behaviours, lifestyle, recent events, medical history and so on. They may also briefly check your physical health in case a physical illness could be an underlying cause.

It’s important to remember that your GP will likely be very used to hearing about mental health issues, so you shouldn’t be judged or ignored. They’ll also keep everything confidential unless they think you’re at risk of seriously harming yourself or others.

What Could Happen Next?

The outcome of your appointment will depend on what you mention in the step above. But possible options include:

Asking you to come back for further appointments
Giving you a diagnosis
Suggesting small lifestyle changes like exercise or diet
Referring you to another service such as talking therapies
Giving you details to make a self-referral
Prescribing you medication

Options If You’re Unhappy With Your Appointment

In the majority of cases, medical professionals deal with mental health issues appropriately. Sometimes things go wrong, however. If they do, your options range from asking for a second opinion from a different GP to making a medical negligence claim, depending on what happened and how you’re affected.

Things You Can Do While Waiting For An Appointment

Sometimes your GP appointment may be further in the future than you’d like. But you’ve still got options in the meantime:

Try a mental well-being app like SAM or Headspace
Speak to trusted family, friends or colleagues
Keep a list of emergency numbers

Is it time you reached out to someone about your mental health?

*Collaborative post

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