What do they do?
A General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor based in the community who treats patients with minor or chronic illnesses and refers those with serious conditions to a hospital. Your doctor or GP is usually the first port of call if you have a mental health problem. GPs can make a diagnosis, prescribe medication and/or refer you to other specialists, health professionals and support groups.
GPs can also rule out any physical health problems that may be contributing to the way you are feeling. When making an appointment with your GP, it is a good idea to arrange a long consultation so that you have plenty of time to discuss your situation (Mental Health Commission WA).
How can they help?
When you have an emotional or mental health problem your GP is a great place to start. They can assess your overall health to make sure there are no physical reasons contributing to your emotional problems. A GP can also prepare a mental health plan, refer you to the right mental health professional and prescribe appropriate medicines if required.
Why go to see a GP over a problem that you think will eventually pass?
- A minor problem could develop into something more serious if ignored.
- Recurrent problems (like feeling anxious) can impact on your quality of life and lead to other problems.
- Seeing a GP regularly can help you to learn more about the support available to you, and helps your GP to better understand your needs.
How do I find one?
The National Health Services Directory (NHSD) provides easy access to reliable and consistent information about health services for everyone. You can find information about health services such as contact details, location, opening hours, wheelchair access and bulk billing services.