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Mental health and wellbeing - Opening up the conversation

When we're having trouble coping with our mental health, people frequently advise us to "go to your GP." But what if you don't trust your doctor, haven't visited one in a while, or don't know what to say?

When people give us this advice, they're usually correct. GPs are an excellent place to start since they can help us figure out if there are any underlying medical concerns and recommend different ways to improve our mental health.

Making that appointment, though, can be quite nerve-wracking and you may be thinking…

What if I don’t have a GP?

There are a couple of possibilities if you don't already have a trustworthy GP to see:

- Inquire with someone you trust about a GP or medical clinic with whom they've had good experiences. You're looking for someone who will be understanding and supportive.

- You can identify clinics near you by using a tool like the NHS GP Finder.

What am I supposed to say?

It can be difficult to express our difficulties. We might not be used to talking about feeling vulnerable, or might battle with feelings of shame. We may also not know what kind of information is important to get across.

Key things to mention might be:

- What have you noticed that makes you concerned?

- What has changed, either dramatically or gradually?

- Have you observed any differences in your mood, sleep, appetite, thinking, or how you perceive the world?

- What effect do these adjustments have on you?

- Do they have an effect on your career, your relationships, or your physical well-being?

A GP will ask you these questions to learn more about you and your symptoms. This may include inquiries on your work, personal life, and current and previous physical and mental health. It could also imply completing a brief questionnaire or undergoing a blood test. All of this aids your doctor in gathering pertinent information in order to provide you with the best possible care.

After that, a doctor should go over your assistance alternatives with you. Discussing referrals to services or mental health professionals, as well as discussing pharmaceutical alternatives, are examples of this. They can help you create a mental health care plan, which allows you to have a further assessment with a mental health expert.

This should be a collaborative discussion in which you may ask questions and obtain the information you need to make an informed treatment decision.

People frequently leave visits feeling as though they haven't talked enough or asked the right questions, so being prepared is a smart idea. Try writing down what you'd like to talk about before you leave. You can accomplish this by yourself or with the help of someone you trust. You can then refer to it throughout the meeting.

You can also bring a friend or family member to your appointment. You can ask someone to accompany you for moral support if it makes you feel more at ease. They might also be able to assist you in communicating what's been going on.

The demand for mental health help in primary care is increasing, according to a survey carried out by Mind of more than 1,000 GPs. Two out of every five (40%) of GP appointments now involve mental health, and two out of every three (66%) believe the proportion of patients needing mental health treatment has increased in the last year.

Oftentimes, the reason people put off making an appointment with their GP is that they just aren’t ready for that face-to-face conversation. Our health kiosk provides an alternative means for people to report their mental health issues that may be preferable to opening up personally in the first instance, and may also pick up on people that perhaps haven’t reported issues previously.

At EK Interactive our advanced library includes the following clinically approved pathways that can be used to provide information on a patient’s mental health to assist clinician diagnosis

Mental Health – Depression (PHQ9): a scoring tool to monitor the severity of depression

Mental Health – Phobia (IAPT): a scale for assessing avoidance due to fear of particular situations

Mental Health – Eating Disorder (SCOFF): a tool to assess possible presence of an eating disorder

Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS): a self-reporting scale used to measure anxiety and depression

Mental Health – Anxiety (GAD7): a tool to help evaluate anxiety

Mental Health Assessment: contains the PHQ9 plus lifestyle questions around eating and drinking (that can be customised)

If you are a healthcare clinician or a practice manager that would like to see our self-assessment health kiosk works, then we'd be happy to arrange a demo for you - contact us by email on or call 01223 812737.

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