Supporting GPs to help treat mental illness is vital

Supporting GPs to help treat mental illness is vital

Often misunderstood and stigmatised, mental illnesses can be incredibly challenging to treat, and many families struggle for years to help a loved one to cope with their condition.

Though GPs play a vital role in identifying and treating mental illness, the GP’s remit in dealing with mental health conditions is limited and other services are accessed in order to support the patient when diagnosed. Having the support and understanding of friends and family can make a huge difference to the recovery and future outlook of the person suffering from the condition. 

Why is there a lack of support for GPs?

A recent survey by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (and reported on by the BBC) found that around 85% of GPs felt that there was a lack of local support for their patients suffering from mental health problems.

Community ties of old seem to be dying out and people can often become isolated. Often, this can be due to the fact that people no longer stay in one geographical location; moving from place to place and failing to build the deeper bonds and friendships that can be called on in times of need. Smaller local community groups are also finding it hard to survive.

However, in many cases a lack of understanding about mental illness means that friends and family simply don’t know how to cope and the patient can often feel isolated and alone as a result.

What care is available for those suffering from mental illness?

If you or a loved one needs more support than your GP can offer, there are other resources out there that could help.

From charities to residential care, therapy groups to support centres - more and more is being done to help those with mental health problems.

For older people suffering from mental health issues, a residential care company like McCarthy and Stone could be the perfect solution. Helping to give patients the support they need while maintaining as much freedom as possible, these homes can take the pressure off families and provide the patient with the support they need.

How can friends and family offer GPs more support?

If you have a friend or loved one currently suffering from mental health issues, supporting them and their GP is the best way to aid their recovery and help them to get better as quickly as possible.

Simple things like ensuring a patient attends all of their set appointments, takes their medication and sees appropriate therapists can take a huge load off of the GP’s shoulders and help your friend or loved one get better faster.

Please ask your GP about services in your area and more information on aiding patient care.

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