This is a guest post from Holly, who is part of Young People Cornwall is a youth work charity running activities, youth groups and centres across Cornwall. Here, Holly writes about her experiences with young people and mental health in Cornwall and their opinion on Doc Ready.
I attend a group run by the Hear Our Voice project, which is about promoting positive mental health for young people. I am also a member of the Cornwall CAMHS Young People’s board, which ensures young people have a voice in local mental health services.
We consult with lots of young people in Cornwall about their experiences of services and so I have heard many different views from young people about seeing their GP and how difficult this can be, as well as talking from my own point of view.
The average GP appointment is estimated to be ten minutes long and my own personal viewpoint is that this is a very short amount of time for anything, let alone if it is a young person trying to talk about their mental health or emotional wellbeing
Most experiences I have heard from young people have unfortunately been quite negative. Young people find it very difficult to get an appointment, and of course the appointment will have to fit around other commitments such as school or college and it may be difficult to negotiate a appropriate time with the local surgery, especially if you want to go without your parents and without missing school.
Other main worries are that GP’s don’t listen, that it is extremely hard to talk about mental health especially under the pressure of a ten minute time limit, and that young people are worried about confidentiality and safety. Young people are not told about their rights or about consent and often worry that doctors will just immediately go to their parents without permission.
We have looked at Doc Ready in development and now at the final version – it is really useful because it is a resource designed to help young people with GP appointments that will be based around their mental health and/or emotional wellbeing and will help with some of these problems.
We like the website as it is easy to access and navigate and the advice given about confidentiality, your rights and how to make a complaint is really helpful – it helps you to know what to expect.
Creating a checklist to take in to your doctor is a really good idea and I think it will help lots of young people who might be nervous to start talking about their mental health or about self -harm for example.
So far I have only met young people who have seen this resource after having already experienced their first GP appointment but they have all said how good a resource it is and how they wish they could have had access to it before they had their first GP appointment.
I think the Doc Ready site is well worth advertising more as it could be extremely useful to young people who are anxious or worried about going to the GP to receive help with their mental health.
I’ll conclude by saying that, as a young person who has previously been to see my GP about my mental health, I admire the DocReady resource for its goal to help young people feel less anxious and instead more prepared and optimistic about their first GP appointment.
Thanks for sharing your views with us, Holly!