Your GP should be able to offer you the opportunity to be referred to a mental health specialist as a first option before you consider medical treatment [prescribed drugs]. He/she would assess and signpost you to the most appropriate agency. This could be :

i. Psychiatrist for prescribed medication to those with a mental illness [caused by chemical imbalances] eg Bi-polar depression,Chronic depression, drug induced psychosis, dementia, Huntington’s Chorea, and Schizophrenia.

ii. Psychologist to test and quantify results affecting behaviour.

iii. Psychotherapist to do long term therapy invariably dealing with deep rooted childhood issues.

iv. Psychiatric Nurse better known for their role within secondary care [acute pyschiatric admissions, elderly rehab, and community care as the extended care from hospitals]. Where there is money made available for primary care [GP surgeries], you will find “Link Workers”.

The emphasis is very much patient focus to allow as much control as possible to the patient rather than the health professional. If that is the case, professionals should always refer to their patients as “clients”. If you are a client and negotiating your health plan, it requires a two person team as a minimum which you are choosing to agree to and implement with guidance from the professional. Not all health professionals will agree with this terminology. Psychiatric nurses have
always been encouraged to listen and talk with their clients to teach them tools to aid better mental health. The overall aim is to allow the client dignity and empowerment. It is sad, then, that those clients within primary care have few choices extended to them to help with their mental ill health, and, all too frequently, are left to deteriorate. In other words, you need to be chronically ill over a long period of time or exhibiting “at risk” behaviour to yourself or other people to be admitted to hopsital.

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