Mental Health GP Tuggeranong – Greenway Medical Centre Doctors
Bulk Billing Doctors Kambah, Wanniassa, Isabella Plains, Gordon, Conder
Mental health is a combination of how we feel and how well we function. When we experience poor mental health over a long period it can impact our ability to work, relationships and day to day tasks.
Good mental health, on the other hand, can provide the confidence and positive outlook that enables us to manage our emotions, deal with daily stress, care for others and enjoy what life has to offer.
When our mental health starts to deteriorate, a proactive approach can help protect such a vital part of our lives, that influences our thoughts, behaviours and emotions.
Where to start?
If you or someone you care about is going through a mental health crisis then your doctor is a logical place to start the process of addressing your mental health.
In doing so you would not be alone as Previous RACGP ‘Health of the Nation’ surveys of GP’s has identified that patients talk to their doctor about mental health more than any other health concern.
Perhaps the reason for this is that doctors play a central role in providing your primary health care needs. Also, mental health is a personal subject so your concerns can be discussed within the privacy and comfort of a consultation room. Your doctor will most likely have an existing relationship with you where trust has been built over time.
It is from that position as a primary care provider that your GP can make a holistic assessment based on your current medical background. This will encompass both physical and mental elements that form your current state of wellbeing. Taking this into account your doctor can offer advice or organise treatment.
Having a broad perspective on mental health services and the health community in general also means that your doctor will be able to select from a variety of mental health professionals including psychologists, counsellors or psychiatrists.
In a typical consultation, your doctor will discuss how you feel and your symptoms. You can also air any concerns about the feelings you have, along with how those feelings are impacting your daily life and those around you.
Your doctor could suggest self-guided care through one of the many online resources or programs that are available. Alternatively, your doctor may assess you for a mental health plan that documents your goals, health care needs, treatment and any need for referral to specialists.
Contributing factors to mental health.
A wide range of causes can contribute to a period of poor mental health. For many people there is a combination of factors, with some of the following having a deeper effect than others:
- abuse, trauma, or neglect from earlier in life
- genetic factors, for example, a close family member with a mental illness
- social isolation or loneliness
- the experience of discrimination or stigma
- social disadvantage, poverty or debt
- the passing of a loved one
- stress that is severe or long-term
- the strain of a long-term health condition
- loss of job or unemployment
- homelessness or poor quality housing
- taking care of someone long-term
- alcohol or drug misuse
- domestic violence or workplace bullying
- trauma from a violent crime, a life-threatening situation or the effects of military combat
- a head injury or a neurological condition such as epilepsy or another physical cause that impacts mood and behaviour
- perfectionism, low self-esteem and other specific personality traits
Fortunately, there are small things that can help contribute to improving our mental health.
Areas that can be addressed for supporting our mental health.
Our mental health is influenced by a combination of genetic, social, economic and environmental conditions. Just as many factors contribute to mental health there is a range of areas that can help cultivate it as well.
Some contributors to our mental wellbeing are:
- quality sleep
- exercise or physical activity you enjoy
- finding other enjoyable pursuits
- seeking activities that give a sense of accomplishment
- eating nutritious food
- staying socially connected
- building and maintaining good relationships
- learning how to manage stress
- counteracting negative or overcritical thinking
- having realistic expectations
- finding ways to relax
By finding ways in which to cultivate our mental health we then have space with which to assist others – with altruism being a key way in which to improve our mental health.
How can I support the mental health of others?
The sooner someone with a mental illness receives treatment the better the outcome is likely to be. Although you may encourage someone to see a doctor for a mental health assessment, this may be refused. In that case, you can make an appointment with a doctor yourself to discuss any concerns and find out what options are available to assist.
There is plenty of support and treatment options available that can be discussed with your doctor. Utilising these is essential for the long term as looking after yourself and someone else’s needs can be hard to balance. Ensuring that the support you provide is within your limitations can also be discussed with your doctor.
A great resource for those wishing to initiate support for others is the ‘R U OK?’ website that aims to assist those that may be struggling with life. A conversation can be started with ‘R U OK?’ but we are then encouraged to follow this up with the steps ‘Listen’, ‘Encourage Action’ and ‘Check-in’.
For younger people, Eheadspace provides free online support and counselling for 12-25-year-olds, their family and friends.
Useful organisations and resources regarding mental health.
The following are just some of the national mental health organisations that offer free resources and support
13 11 14 – Crisis support 24/7 for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.
1800 512 348 – Information, 24/7 support and practical resources including facts about anxiety and depression.
Veterans Support Service
1800 011 046 – Support for ex-serving and current Australian Defence Force personnel and their families
1300 726 306 – Supporting the mental health of new and expecting parents
1300 78 99 78 – Telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns
1800 55 1800 – Phone and online counselling service 24/7 for young people aged 5 to 25
Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467 – Provides professional 24/7 online and telephone counselling
Mental Health Assistance through a GP consultation.
Online support is anonymous but some may prefer a more personable approach.
As a primary care provider, your doctor is there to discuss any mental health concerns you may have. Currently, there is the option of face to face appointments but a TeleHealth consultation may also suffice. Either within the comfort of a consultation room or the familiarity of a phone call, your doctor is a private and personable way in which to discuss your management and treatment options.
If you would like to make an appointment please contact our friendly reception staff or make a booking with your doctor online via the website Appointments page.