Top tips for talking to your GP about mental health

young man and female GP

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:

GAMH GP info English and Urdu

GAMH GP info – English and French (1)

GAMH GP Appointments – Swahili

GAMH GP Appointments – Arabic

British Sign Language

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One Response to Top tips for talking to your GP about mental health

  1. Pru Davies November 12, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    What an excellent article highlighting the work done by Glasgow Association for Mental Health – one of many reasons why this organisation that supports so many service users and carers – a leader in the field of mental health having been around for many years with a proven track record, should most definitely NOT be threatened by a cut in its funding. Those who are vulnerable and find it difficult to ask for help rely on the one to one support and group work that GAMH does. I would urge each and every one involved in mental health either in the voluntary or statutory sectors plus Councils and Government alike to take a stand for what I am passionate about
    Thank you.

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