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Mental health problems are really common. 1 in 4 people in the last year have suffered with a mental health problem in the UK, and there are lots of different services you could access.
Should you contact a talking therapy service? Should you see a doctor, or do you need to see a psychiatrist? What’s better, to go NHS or private?
A good place to start is always with your GP.
Why should I see a GP first?
GPs see a very wide range of conditions on a daily basis. 40% of consultations with GPs are regarding mental health!A normal clinic for GPs will usually consist of 5 patients or more dealing with mental health issues, as well as many physical health problems too.
At some point in most peoples’ mental health treatment journeys they have been in contact with their GP. More often than not this has been their first port of call.
This means GPs will also be able to consider a wider range of issues that could be contributing to mental health issues.
Physical health problems can affect your mental health.
Physical health problems can affect your mental health too. Examples may include thyroid disorders and diabetes which can affect your mood.
Many medications could also be affecting your emotional and mental health.
What can a GP actually do about mental health?
The first thing a GP will do is listen to you, and ask further questions about your emotional, mental and physical health. We often pick up cues which help us to understand what might be going on. We don’t just think about what you’re telling us.
We ask questions to rule out different causes and to help us work out what is causing you your feelings.
Based on what you tell us we will start to consider what might be going on, and think about a ‘diagnosis’. Now, a diagnosis is just a name to a collection of symptoms that you’re experiencing with your mental health.
There isn’t always a diagnosis but often it helps with understanding what you’re going through.
GPs are specially trained in communication. We support people through their mental health issues and we will also be able to recognise what kind of health professionals can support you too.
GPs can prescribe medications that may help support you through mental illness which may include anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, and suggest appropriate alternative therapies including talking therapies.
If you have persistent thoughts of self-harm or suicide, or if your treatment with the GP in not helping them hospital teams may get involved. Often you will still have on-going follow up with your GP.
If you are experiencing symptoms that might be suggestive of a rarer diagnosis such as schizophrenia a GP will refer you to a hospital mental health team or psychiatrist for further help.
When should I see a psychotherapist or a counsellor?
Very often your mental health may be supported by more than one health professional. If you are experiencing depression or anxiety and are on medications, you will usually have a GP reviewing you at least every 6-12 months and usually more often to begin with.
Seeing a therapist or counsellor is a form of treatment to help improve your mental health and wellbeing. If you had a specific event in childhood that is now affecting your mental health, seeing a counsellor would be a sensible approach. They will help to work through, understand and help you come to terms with any previous mental health traumas.
Are you worried about your Mental Health?
If you’re worried about your mental health then the first thing you should do is reach out to those closest to you. Talk about how you’re feeling.
Sometimes just talking about what’s going on can really help. You shouldn’t come to conclusions about any diagnosis or specific mental health conditions without seeing a doctor.
If the way you’re feeling is starting to affect your normal behaviour and daily activities then you should seek further help.
See a health professional as soon as possible if you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Don’t hesitate to contact emergency services if you feel you or someone else is at serious risk of harming themselves. Severe mental health problems that are a risk to your own life or someone else are emergencies too.
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We need health professionals to drive change and take a stand on Mental Health & Well-being.
We’re in the midst of a crisis.
In May the UK recognises Mental Health Awareness Week. 1 in 4 people are affected by mental health problems each year in the UK.
that’s a staggering 16 Million people.
Across the world depression is the world’s leading cause of disability which affects the lives of 300 million people every year.
We need Health Professionals to Step Up & Drive Change.
Charities and Celebrities are driving the conversation but Doctors and Health Professionals aren’t a mainstream part of that conversation. Yes, We’re Talking. Yes, we’re breaking down the stigma. But health professionals have the power to treat and do something about it and we need to break the Status Quo.
Why is there a crisis?
First of all, we are recording data more accurately than ever before so we are better able to measure the severity of the crisis. Understanding why people develop mental health problems is complex though. There is a genetic component but how we treat our bodies, what we eat, the quality of our sleep and the exercise we do affects our mental well-being.
Things we have less control of also contribute significantly including the environment we live in, our finances, our social and family lives. We’re less connected to the natural world, more switched on than ever before and we’re experiencing burnout at an incredible rate. 74% of the UK has been so stressed that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope in the past year.
We’re not doing enough.
Mental Health Services continue to feel the squeeze despite increasing funds. 23% of health problems in the UK are due to mental health issues, yet just 11% of the NHS budget is allocated to mental health.
The NHS has lost nearly 5,500 mental health workers in 7 years. That’s more than 2 staff being loss every day for 7 years in a row.
Celebrities and Charities are taking a stand. Where is the health profession?
It’s clear that raising awareness was the first step to help to improve this crisis. We talk more, and people are more open. As a society we’re starting to talk more about anxiety, depression and suicide. But where are the health professionals?
40% of all GP appointments are about Mental Health.
GPs see mental health problems day in, day out. We treat depression, anxiety, burnout and stress on a daily basis, and contribute to the management of many health mental health conditions. Some of these patients we see on a regular basis for the rest of their lives, without really improving their mental health.
What’s wrong with Online Doctor Services?
Not knowing which doctor you’re going to consult with is unacceptable. Seeing a different health professional every time is frustrating. Mental Health issues can’t always be managed effectively in 10-minute appointments.
We’re working with Doctors, Therapists, Coaches and other Professionals to deliver a new service and we want you to be part of that.
A service that people will want for their mental and physical health. We know that the causes of mental health problems are complex and in nearly every case just giving an anti-depressant tablet is not the solution.
We’re doing it differently this Summer.
We are developing The Doctor Service to focus on Mental Health. Mental Health isn’t just about recognising the symptoms and certainly not just about giving you anti-depressants. We need to improve the provision of mental healthcare online and drive better outcomes. You will know the name of the doctor you’re going to see online.
We’re going to have effective communication channels with our partners; including therapists and coaches so our patients get the best treatment.If you need a prescription, you’ll be able to pick it up on the same day from a pharmacy or have it delivered.
If you need a prescription, you’ll be able to pick it up on the same day from a pharmacy or have it delivered.
We’re excited, we’re hopeful, and we can’t wait to address Mental Health and Well-being with our service from July 2019.
If you’re a doctor, therapist, coach or another professional involved in Mental Health contact us, we want to hear from you.
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