Where to seek help
When you are experiencing a mental health problem, access to support and reliable information can change your life. Knowing where to seek help is a key step in recovery and ongoing management of mental health problems. At the Black Dog Institute we believe everyone with a mental illness should be able to access excellent care and services.
Acknowledging when you're experiencing mental health issues and seeking help can be difficult. The mental health system can be complicated and it can be hard to know where to go for support.
Who can help?
There are many health professionals and services that can help you understand your mental health and assist you and those you care about.
Your General Practitioner (GP)
A good place to start is your local GP. Let your GP know if you think you might be experiencing a mental illness.
Many GPs are used to dealing with depression and other mental health issues. Some take a special interest and undertake additional training in the area.
Your GP may conduct an initial general check-up to identify whether there are any physical causes to your symptoms.
Depending on the nature of the problem, your GP will either conduct an assessment of you, or refer you to mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
If you have a mental illness, your GP may:
- recommend some psychological intervention, such as cognitive behaviour therapy or interpersonal therapy
- prescribe antidepressant medication to relieve some of the symptoms.
It's important that you feel comfortable talking about how you are feeling so your GP has as much information to help you as possible.
Other steps you can take
If you don't feel comfortable talking to your own GP try calling other general practices in your area. Find out whether there are any doctors who have a particular interest in mental health.
Additional professional support
Psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors are trained to provide help for people experiencing mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. It’s important to note that you will need a referral from your GP to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist. A referral from your GP will either eliminate or reduce costs for visits to other mental health professionals.
Social workers, occupational therapists and registered nurses are also trained in mental health.
beyondblue has a national listing of health practitioners with an interest and/or expertise in the treatment of depression and anxiety. This list is searchable by suburb and is a useful way of finding practitioners in your local area.