What should I say to my GP?

It’s not always easy to start a conversation about your personal feelings with your GP – someone you may hardly know. And it can be especially hard when you’re not feeling well. But it’s usually the first step towards working out what kind of treatment and support might help you.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Be honest and open.
  • Focus on how you feel, rather than what diagnosis you might meet.
  • Try to explain how you’ve been feeling over the past few months or weeks, and anything that has changed.
  • Use words and descriptions that feel natural to you – you don’t have to say specific things to get help.
  • Try not to worry that your problem is too small or unimportant – everyone deserves help and your doctor is there to support you.

Being as open and honest as possible, even though extremely difficult, is what has assisted me.

How can I prepare for an appointment?

GP appointments are usually very short, and if you’re feeling nervous you might forget to say things you think are important. Being prepared can help you get the most out of your appointment.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Write down what you want to say in advance, and take your notes in with you.
  • Give yourself enough time to get to your appointment, so that you don’t feel rushed or stressed.
  • Think about taking someone with you to support you, like a close friend or family member.
  • If you’ve talked to your family or friends about how you feel, practise what you might say to your GP with them.
  • Highlight or print out any information you’ve found that helps you explain how you’re feeling.
  • If you’re feeling nervous, let your doctor know.
  • Think about the outcome that you want from your appointment (such as access to therapy).
  • If you have a few things to talk about, you can ask for a longer appointment (you’ll need to do this when you’re booking it in).

This video below has been produced by National Mind, and gives some good hints and tip