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Preparing to discuss your mental health with your GP

01 August 2022

Mental health
So you have made your GP appointment because you think something for you is not quite right…well done!

Preparing to have the conversation with your GP can sometimes be daunting, irrespective of whether you have known your GP for long or your GP was someone you saw as a toddler.

Here are some tips that may help:

  1.  Make sure you have booked a longer appointment to help both you and your GP have adequate time to discuss your concerns. It’s ok if you don’t take up the full appointment. You don’t want to feel rushed.
  2. Think about whether it is helpful to talk to a friend or family member prior and ask them to come with you.
  3. Make some dot points of what you are worried about; these might be about your thoughts, feelings, sleep pattern, weight or all of those combined.
  4. Let your GP know how long these things have been happening for you and whether other people in your life have commented - they are concerned about you.
  5. Let your GP know whether these things have happened before and resolved with treatments or just went away and what was happening in your life at that time.
  6. Let your GP know if you know any of your family has had a similar experience to you.
  7. Let your GP know how these things are affecting your life; it might be your work, your relationships or your motivation.
  8. Ask your GP what the options are for interventions and in what order; it may be medication, therapy or investigations to rule out any underlying condition and what you may expect from these.
  9. If you are taking medication, ask your GP or Pharmacist to explain expected effects and side effects to look out for. There are also many helpful online resources such as NPS MedicineWise and Choosing Wisely Australia.
  10. Feel ok to ask for a medical certificate if you need a break from work to recover or mental health treatment plan to access Medicare benefits.
  11. And finally, make another appointment as you leave.
Monica Taylor
Monica Taylor - Deputy Director of Nursing – Mental Health

Monica is an experienced nurse with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital and health care industry. Her passion and specialisations lie in patient safety, mental health, healthcare management and organisational development.