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Mental Health and your GP

So what does a mental health discussion look like with one of the GPs at Next Practice Prahran?

We recognise that many of you experience feelings of anxiety and concern. For some, these may be new feelings brought on or made worse by the forever changing world and its uncertainties surrounding Covid-19.

Firstly, all of the doctors here have completed additional mental health training to deliver a patient centred approach to mental health. This means that you, the patient, are the leader in their partnership. You will feel listened to focussing on your individual circumstances. This means the GPs will be asking you a lot of questions to better understand you and your concerns. Any decisions will be made with-you, rather than for-you.

A major role your GP plays in checking in on your mental wellbeing is ensuring that there are no physical reasons for the way you are feeling. A physical examination and further tests such as blood tests or X rays may be arranged to exclude anything biological. For example, you may be feeling tired and irritable lately. This could be due to low iron, vitamins or minerals or a hormonal upset, and a blood test is the best way of checking this.

The GPs will also take time to look at how your lifestyle may be affecting your wellbeing. This could include your diet, alcohol, exercise, supports and relationships. Any one of these social aspects to your life could be influencing how you feel.

The GPs will discuss self-care techniques (personalised to your needs) to assist you feeling mentally well. This might include psychotherapy, meditation practice or grounding techniques. These are the 'tools' to help you day to day manage your stress, anxiety or depression.

If you and your GP agree that further support (such as a psychologist) is needed, then a Mental Health Treatment Plan can be created which provides you with Medicare subsidised psychology appointments. These plans are usually completed on a separate day and last roughly 30 mins.

Finally, the doctors can discuss the suitability of medication. As per all decisions made about your healthcare, in conjunction with your doctor, YOU will have the final decision of whether this is or isn’t the right path for you. Generally, the doctors will want to conduct tests to exclude anything biological and recommend a psychologist or mental health worker before prescribing anti-anxiety or depression medication.

Next Practice Prahran works as a multidisciplinary team and this means keeping in close touch with your psychologist and other health care providers. Together, with YOU at the centre of YOUR own healthcare team, the doctors here believe that they can help you achieve optimal health.

You can book an appointment with one of the GPs here by clicking here