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. They’ve recently produced it on two new community languages: Punjabi and Polish. It is also available in English, Urdu and French, Swahili, Arabic, Tamil 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 new leaflets here:
British Sign Language: