Making It Easier to Talk to Your GP About Mental Health

Posted on: 21 May 2018


There are times people dread going to see their doctor, often if they have embarrassing problems that make them feel self-conscious. It's not just sensitive physical complaints that can make people put off a doctor's visit, though. Another situation where you might find it difficult to get yourself to your GP is when you need to discuss your mental health.

To get help with a mental health issue, general practitioners will normally be the first point of contact. But getting over the hurdle of having that conversation can be a source of anxiety, making you put it off indefinitely. Here are some tips to help you through the chat with your doctor, so you can start improving your quality of life.

Write down all the symptoms you've been experiencing

Being nervous makes you liable to forget what you wanted to say, or just find yourself unable to say them. When they're written in front of you, it's easier to take a deep breath and have another go, and you'll be reassured that you haven't forgotten anything important.

If you're really finding it difficult to talk about what you're experiencing, you could even just give your notes to the doctor, so write them clearly and provide detail on them.

Write down any questions you want to ask

In addition to the things you need to tell your GP, you most likely have some questions you'd like answers to. You should write these down with your symptoms.

Think carefully about what you'd like to ask and cover everything, like diagnosis, treatment and what you can expect from any further sessions.

Consider taking someone with you

You don't have to go through it all alone if you don't want to. Many people find that taking along a trusted friend or member of the family gives them a lot of strength in dealing with something that would otherwise be difficult.

The second benefit of this is that the person accompanying you can help make sure you've covered everything you wanted to talk about, and they can speak up on your behalf if you're finding it difficult.

Don't be afraid to ask for a specific doctor

Sometimes, there might be people who make you feel more comfortable. If you'd like to see a doctor of a certain gender, someone who has specific mental health expertise, or simply one you've seen before and trust, ask when you're making your appointment. GPs understand the importance of their patients' comfort, so it's never a problem to make a special request.