If you’ve been struggling with mental health problems, the first step to recovery can be a visit to your GP. But it can be a daunting thought. What if the doctor doesn’t listen? What if English isn’t your first language and you don’t know how to explain?
Our friends at GAMH worked with co-trainers from diverse backgrounds including black and minority ethnic communities to produce a leaflet giving top tips. It is available in English, Urdu and French, Swahili, Arabic and British Sign Language.
Here’s their top tips for making the most of your GP appointments:
- Write it down: include your physical and mental symptoms as well as 2 or 3 important questions you’d like to ask
- If you feel comfortable with it, ask a friend or family member to come with you
- You can ask for a female or male GP if you prefer. If there’s a choice available at your surgery, they should give you an option.
- If you need an interpreter, tell the receptionist. You are entitled to an interpreter for all NHS appointments, although it may take a little while to arrange it. In an emergency, they can arrange telephone interpretation.
- If you’re worried you won’t have enough time, you can ask for a double appointment of 20 minutes instead of 10. If two appointments are available together, you can request this.
- You can ask questions: ask what will happen next, or ask the GP to explain if you don’t understand anything. Write down their answers.
- Your GP can refer you to other NHS services, such psychology and psychiatry
- If you are unhappy, you can ask to see another GP in the practice, or you can make a complaint
What do you find helpful when visiting your GP? Would you add anything to this advice?
You can download the leaflets here:
British Sign Language