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Talking to the GP about mental health

It can feel like a big step to see the GP about mental health. People are often unsure how they’ll explain the problem so it’s a good idea to plan ahead to get the most out of the appointment. You can take someone with you if you find it easier to talk with them in the room. They may be able to help explain things to the GP that you find hard to say out loud. 

Sophie found it hard to talk about her feelings to a doctor she hardly knew. It was also hard for her to talk openly with her parents in the room in case she upset them.

Aphra finds it easier to talk about mental health on her own. She feels that other family members would only worry more if they were there.

Seeing a different doctor every time people went to the surgery was also hard, and it might take several appointments before some people felt they got the help they needed.

Aphra saw a few different GPs at first but eventually settled with one who she could have ‘regular contact’ with. All the doctors listened and reassured her that depression wasn’t ‘a failing’.

Well I went on my own at university all the time, I didn’t really have much of a choice. I could have probably took a friend but it never really crossed my mind. But either when I was going through my early stages of depression and things, I still chose to go on my own just because I felt that it was easier to talk to my GP about what I was feeling without having a family member there because I don’t want to worry anyone. 

That’s an overarching feeling; it's natural that they're going to worry and there's nothing I can do about it. But at the same time I think if they heard all the thoughts that go through your head, then that’s the point where it'll become more of a problem. And obviously as well I don’t think I'd be so willing to be honest with my GP. So I think it's better for my health if I go on my own.

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