General practitioners (GPs)
If you are depressed, your GP may be the first person you turn to for help.
Your GP can help by:
- Looking for a possible 'physical' cause of the depression (for example, depression may be a side effect of medication).
- Explaining about depression and how you can best be helped.
- Prescribing antidepressant medication if needed.
- If appropriate, referring you to a counsellor or clinical psychologist who can help you learn ways of overcoming depression.
- Referring you to a psychiatrist, particularly if your depression is severe or long-lasting.
You can help your GP make a quick diagnosis by telling them directly that you think you are suffering from depression. Some GPs are more comfortable dealing with depression than others.
beyondblue: the national depression initiative is developing a Directory of Medical and Allied Health Practitioners in Mental Health, containing the contact details of practitioners who have interest and expertise in the treatment of depression, anxiety and related substance-use disorders. This directory also includes an interactive map for finding practitioners in your area. All the practitioners are self-referred, indicating an interest in being a part of the list, and have provided written consent to be included. The Directory of Medical and Allied Health Practitioners in Mental Health can be accessed by clicking on the 'Find a Doctor or other Mental Health Practitioner' button on the beyondblue homepage (http://www.beyondblue.org.au).
Your GP should:
- be willing to take the time to listen to you,
- be warm and sympathetic, and
- take account of your treatment preferences.
If you are not happy with your GP, do not hesitate to get help from another one. You are the consumer and should expect the best possible service.