A Guide To… Talking To Your GP About Mental Health

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Step One: You’ve admitted you need help. It could have been to yourself, to a close friend, to your dog. However you did it, that is such a huge step, WELL DONE. But, now what?! How do you pluck up the courage to go to your GP about it?!

1. Make the appointment

Before backing out, pick up the phone and just book in for the appointment. Some surgeries can take up to a fortnight to have a space so ensure that you have a time and date. Then, you’ll have however long to prepare.

2. Write a list of EVERYTHING

Whatever is bothering you, get it in writing. It’s much easier to remember everything when it’s physically in front of you. This way you’ve also got time to really think about all that’s on your mind until the date of the appointment, and you can keep adding to it without too much bother – whereas thinking of it all in front of the GP can really put you on the spot.

3. Get a good night’s sleep

The night before you can be a bunch of nerves, feel sick, all those anxious feelings that crop up before doing anything stressful – exams, crowded places, facing your fears. Have a relaxing bath, light some candles, read a book, whatever that ensures that you get a lovely restful night.

4. Get to the surgery

This is most important. You need to get there to actually speak to the doctor! Take a friend, take your mum, message me as you’re going, whatever you do, just make sure you’re there.

5. Speak

The GP will ask ‘so what can I do for you today?…’ or something along those lines. You’ve got your list in front of you, so just say everything. Remember that the GP is legally obliged to ensure everything is private and confidential unless you are at risk. However ‘crazy’ it is, just get it out in the open. You’ll feel so much better. The GP will then take this and decide how to proceed, but you’ll be involved in every step of the way.

6. Reward yourself!

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You just made the biggest step forward in your recovery. Spotted some new shoes that you want? Get them. A new film’s out at the cinema? Watch it. That chilled bottle of Chardonnay in the fridge? Drink it (responsibly). You are a star and you may have just saved your own life. That definitely deserves a reward so go for it!

**If you or your loved one’s condition is critical, suicidal, or just very worrying, please call 999. You can also contact the Samaritans on 08457 909090 24 hours a day or Mind‘s infoline on 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm)**

If you need help and support, you can email me (megrrees@gmail.com) or tweet me @megrrees.

Megan xxxx

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