It can be nerve-wracking opening up to someone that you may not know well, such as a GP, about your mental health.

GPs are there to help with your mental health as well as your physical health – around one third of all GP appointments are related to mental health.

Make sure you take time to prepare for your appointment. You may find it useful to write down any main points that you want to talk about as well as any questions you might have. This could include information about how you’re feeling and how this is affecting your day-to-day life, as well as any physical symptoms.

The GP may talk through some possible support options with you which could include:

Your GP might also refer you for some blood tests or other investigations, or prescribe a medication. A GP should talk to you about how a medication should help and tell you about any possible side effects. If you have any issues or concerns about your medicines, you should speak to a GP, pharmacist or nurse to help you to find a solution that most suits you.

You can ask your GP questions about why a particular treatment or investigation has been suggested and if another kind of treatment might help. You may find it useful to make some notes about what is discussed, if you need to.

  • The Doc Ready website can guide you through preparing for a GP appointment step-by-step.
  • The mental health charity Mind has produced a helpful video and guide called ‘Find the words’ about talking to a GP about mental health. 

The Accessible Information Standard

All GP surgeries are legally required to follow the Accessible Information Standard. This means that if you’re a BSL user, deaf, blind or Deafblind you can:

  • receive the communication support you need (for example a BSL-English interpreter or speech-to-text reporter) during a GP consultation
  • ask for information to be provided in an accessible format (this may mean test results sent by SMS or emails in plain English for example)
  • request the way in which the surgery contacts you (by email for example)