When would I go to a Doctor or GP?

If what is happening online is having an impact on how you are feeling offline, a visit to your family doctor or general practitioner (GP) can be the first step in getting help for mental health concerns or problems.

Some of the most common symptoms of poor mental wellbeing include:

  • loss of appetite
  • feeling low or constantly anxious or worrying
  • thinking negative thoughts about yourself
  • irritability or moodiness
  • finding it harder than usual to concentrate
  • not enjoying your life as much as you once did
  • finding day-to-day life difficult (not feeling up to washing or eating, for example)
  • trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • seeing or hearing things that other people do not see or hear.

It’s possible that you may not have noticed the signs, as symptoms can build gradually over time.

How can a Doctor or GP help?

Your doctor can assess your symptoms and talk with you about what might be the best way for you to get treatment.

That might mean taking medication, going to a counsellor or referring you to someone else who has specialist knowledge. 

In some cases, your doctor can also help you work out a self-help programme and keep an eye on your progress along the way.


How do I get in touch with them?

Ring your local medical centre (where you normally go if you are are sick or unwell) to make an appointment.

You do not have to explain why you want to see the doctor, you can just say “I would like to make an appointment to see Dr ——”

Some medical centres will also have the option for you to make an appointment online.

What happens when I go to a Doctor or GP?

They will ask questions about your feelings and thoughts to help you better understand what you are going through and what support is available.

GPs are experienced in dealing with mental health problems, so try to be open about how you have been feeling. 

They might:

  • offer to refer you to counselling
  • recommend simple lifestyle changes that can improve your mental health
  • Ask you back for another appointment in a few weeks’ time to see how you’re doing.
  • Discuss medication if it’s appropriate
  • They may refer you to a specialist service (e.g. Psychiatrists, psychologists etc) if they think that would be more helpful.


Is there anything I can do to feel prepared for my appointment?

Before the appointment it might be helpful to write down what you’d like to talk about to make sure that you don’t forget anything.

  • Take a few minutes before the appointment to write up a list of things you might want to bring up.
  • Write down any symptoms of how you’re feeling and how your mood might be affecting you day-to-day life.
  • Write down any current major stressful events or situations

Remember, you can take a family member or friend along to your appointment for support if it will help you feel more comfortable and this can be really helpful.

Do my parents have to be told?

If you are 16 or over the GP or Doctor does not have an obligation to discuss things with your parents or guardians but they will usually talk with you about how this can help.

Sometimes, you might be scared or embarrassed and feel like your parents won’t understand but a lot of the time they react in a positive way and want to be able to be there for you and give support so you can move forward.

If you are over 16, there is an obligation to share information with other services if your doctor or GP is worried that you might harm yourself or someone else.