Patient talking to his GP about his mental health care plan

How to get your Mental Health Care Plan: Talking with your GP

Addressing your mental wellbeing is crucial because the symptoms will not get better, but only worse over time if unattended. If you feel that your mental well-being is at stake, then you need to seek treatment through a mental health care plan. Your GP is your first point of contact when it comes to dealing with mental health issues. The GP plays a crucial role because they are responsible for recommending you to a psychologist and setting the tone of the treatment.

Hence, it’s vital that you communicate, and communicate well with your doctor.

Recognising the symptoms

The first step in getting your mental health care plan is to recognise the symptoms of mental illness. The most obvious sign is the struggle to function. If you have a hard time motivating yourself to complete routine tasks like going to work, then this could be a sign of mental illness. There are also other signs like withdrawal from friends, feeling sad, extreme feelings of guilt, worry or stress, significant tiredness and problems sleeping. These symptoms might be easy to recognise, but in practice, some of us have trouble recognising when we have problems.

In which case, friends and family play an integral role in helping us recognise when we have a problem. After you recognise the symptoms of mental illness, you can start the treatment process.

Making the appointment

You need to make an appointment with your GP. However, you cannot just seek out any medical practitioner because you need a doctor with experience in mental illness. You can find the right doctor by utilising location services from Health Direct. Once you find a suitable doctor near you, you need to call and ask for an appointment. Before confirming the appointment, be sure to check their experience in handling mental illness. Besides experience, inquire about billing policy, hours available and any special needs you might have. If the GP meets all your conditions, then confirm the appointment.

If you are having trouble finding a suitable GP by yourself, then there are other options available to you. Alternatives include recommendations from family and friends and checking with the local pharmacist for a potential GP.

Communicating with your GP

Communicating with your GP is crucial for the treatment process, which means conveying all important information, and asking the right questions. Begin the appointment by describing your symptoms, medical history, sensitive issues like substance abuse, your concerns, how the symptoms have affected your life, recent stresses and treatment you might be taking.

It might sound embarrassing to discuss problems like substance abuse and voices in your head, but keep in mind, that GPs are professionals with experience in this area. You are not the only one with these problems and every ounce of information you relay is crucial for creating the right mental health care plan for you.

If you feel that communicating is a tough proposition, then you can have a friend or family member for support. Having the extra support will be useful because your friend or family member can explain the situation on your behalf, and recall the discussion you had with the doctor if you have trouble recalling the visit.

During the appointment, your GP will encourage you to ask questions. Make full use of the opportunity granted and ask as many questions as possible. Your questions should include treatment options, the best treatment choice for you, when should your condition improve and how much will the visit cost. If you have problems coming up with questions on the fly, then write them down in advance. For their part, doctors will ask plenty of questions about your goals, health and preferences, which will be recorded in your mental health care plan. They will also recommend you to psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and occupational therapists, depending on your needs.

Key takeaways

Calling your GP is the first step in getting your mental health care plan. For some, talking to the GP is a difficult first step because it means discussing embarrassing situations like substance abuse. However, it’s important to be open and honest when communicating with your GP. The GP is the crucial first step because they will recommend a psychologist or any other mental health worker, setting the tone for your mental health care plan.

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