Tag Archives: GP

What do we need to get help from our GP for mental health? Reassurance, realistic expectations and a plan.

Helping you get help from your GP

NHS services think that they are a series of entrances – but actually they are a series of barriers

Yesterday, I went down to Brighton for the launch of Doc Ready – a new digital tool (a website and soon to be app) that helps young people get the most out of a visit to their GP about mental health. Have a look. It’s got clear and practical information about what young people should expect from a visit. It enables them to search for a GP and create a checklist of things to remember in the appointment.

The above quote – which I am sure many of us can relate to – was something a young person said during one of the engagement workshops run by Right Here in Brighton during the development of the product.

But what struck me was that this young person seems further along the process of understanding, evaluating and therefore being able to access effective support than many. Maybe this is a result of being given a chance to reflect on their experiences in the workshops or perhaps they have just come to this realisation having faced and overcome many barriers. Either way this young person is in a position to evaluate their experience and recognise that getting support for mental health isn’t always easy. They know that many, if not all, of the barriers are not their ‘fault’. Continue reading

Mind the gap – GPs, antidepressants and mental health support for young people.

“I’m not going to give you another prescription”
“What… but I need it.. (panics)”
“Don’t worry, I was just testing to see if you really did still need them..and I think you do”
GP in Fenham, Newcastle

“Just take them when you feel you need to”  – to me aged 17.
GP in Cumbria

“So, do you want to kill yourself then?” – on a routine prescription pick up.
GP in Bow, London

“It’s important you stop taking this medication as soon as possible, we have no idea what impact it can have, especially if you start taking it when you are under 18”
GP in Fenham, Newcastle

“It’s fine for you to take it as long as you need to, even for ever”
GP in Tower Hamlets, London

“They’re not addictive”
GP in Cambridge

“You will get withdrawal symptoms”
GP in Byker, Newcastle

The above is a selection of the contradicting information and advice – as well as frankly bizarre approaches and attitudes I have experienced in the twelve years I have been seeing GPs regularly. 

(2016 note – I wrote this piece in 2011 when I was just getting started blogging – but a lot of it is still relevant)

Personal and practical barriers to getting support from a GP

I’ve spent lot of time supporting young people to take the first steps to support. Their GP is usually the gatekeeper for services.  A lot of young people really struggle to get the mental health support they need, facing a number of personal or practical barriers along the way. As well as support in articles, live chat and on discussion boards, one of the projects I was involved in at YouthNet (now The Mix) was crowdsourcing and discussing experiences in order to create community content to help others overcome these barriers. The project really highlighted the frustrating reality of trying to get the support you need from local health services. Continue reading