BROS & DEPRESSION

SEEING A DOCTOR/GENERAL PRACTITIONER (GP)

Bro, there is no shame in seeing a doctor if you need to have a medical opinion of what you are battling with mentally. Your doctor/GP is often a good place to start for most mental health issues, as they can make a diagnosis, provide treatment or refer you to other mental health services if needed. Visiting your local General Practitioner (as doctors are called in Australia) to discuss a mental health issue can be beneficial if you feel comfortable doing so, especially if you have already formed a trusted relationship with your GP.

 

There are many benefits of visiting a GP if you are experiencing a mental health issue as they are able to provide care for both your physical and mental health issues. Some prescribed medications can have a negative effect on your mental health. If you have a GP you visit regularly, they will be aware of what medications you are taking and your medical history. If you do not have a regular GP, head over to the Referrals page for further information.

You can also request to see a male GP if you prefer. There is a list of male GPs with mental health exprience listed under referrals in Perth. You need to do whatever that is comfortable for you Bro.

Dealing with initial fear

Depression is one of the most common reasons for consulting with a doctor. Yet, for some guys, unfounded beliefs and assumptions can hold them back from connecting with a doctor for depression for the following reasons:

 

  • You don’t think depression is worth talking about
Depression is a serious illness – it can make your life miserable if it’s not addressed properly. When you break your arm, you go to the doctor. If you have pain, you go to the doctor. If you think you may have depression, you go to the doctor. That’s how simple it should be.

 

  • You think your doctor only wants to prescribe medication

Medication isn’t the only treatment for depression, nor in many cases should it be the first. Your doctor can give you lots of advice about lifestyle changes and different treatment options that include talk therapy and/or medications.

 

  • You’re worried about privacy

Talking to your doctor is confidential. Your information will not be shared with anyone without your consent (including your employer, insurance companies, spouses or family members). You can also request a copy of your medical records at any time.

  • You don’t think a doctor can help

Family doctors have a lot of training, knowledge, and expertise. A good working relationship with a family doctor may be enough to help you get through depression, or they can help get you connected with other services if you need them.  Family doctors serve on the frontlines of the health care system – they’ve seen it all.

  • You fear your doctor will tell you to ‘'just deal with it’

This may be the first time you’ve discussed depression with someone else but it won’t be the first time your doctor has worked with somebody with depression. They know how hard depression is and the effort it takes to speak up about it. In the unlikely event that you feel like your family doctor isn’t taking your concerns seriously, you can always consult another doctor. Never give up.

Questions for the Clinic

Before making a decision Bro, you may want to call the practice to ask:

  • When is the practice open?

  • Is the practice easy to get to? Is it close to public transport, or is there reasonable car parking nearby?

  • How long can it take to see a doctor?

  • What fees are payable? Does the practice bulk bill?

  • Can I choose to see a male GP?

  • Do any of the doctors speak languages other than English?​

Preparing for your appointment

Being prepared for your GP visit can assist your GP in getting all the information they need but also help you to discuss all your concerns and find out everything you want to know. Before you go to your appointment:

  • Find out what you can about your family’s medical history as this can help your GP identify the health issue you are experiencing

  • Make notes about symptoms

  • Give your doctor a complete view of what’s going on – describe any physical, emotional, cognitive, or interpersonal problems that you’re experiencing. 

  • Write out things that may be difficult to discuss

  • Think about questions that you’re likely to be asked

  • If you have not seen this particular GP before take with any medications you are currently using/ taking?

  • Ask a mate/relative to accompany you

What to say during your appointment

Let your doctor know all that’s going on and work together to figure out the best treatment options. Start out with what’s most important. Be as specific as possible about how you’re feeling and the impact it’s having on your life. Remember Bro, be in control of the consultation, and know that your GP is there to help you.

 

Be reflective and open up

  • What you are experiencing, be honest  about your concerns they are there to help, not to judge you.

  • If there is anything you think might have triggered what is happening.

  • How long it has been going on for.

  • How it is affecting your everyday life,

  • Tell them about any treatment you are having or medications you are taking.

Here are some examples of what you can say to get the conversation started:

  • “I feel like shit these days – I’m too tired to go to work, I keep going out drinking and calling in sick.”

  • “I can’t sleep at all. I keep lying in bed stressed out about making enough money to support myself.”

  • “I don’t want to see my friends anymore, I’m sick of everyone.”

  • “I’m always grumpy and pissed off, I never seem to be myself anymore.”

  • “Sex isn’t interesting me like it use to and it’s getting harder to perform.”

  • “I’ve been gaining (or losing) lots of weight recently.”

 

Be honest – even about the stuff that’s hard to talk about

You’ve taken the initiative to get this far Bro, so don’t be embarrassed, downplay, or avoid certain subjects. If anything is too hard to talk about, try writing it down, handing a note to your doctor and sitting with them while they read it. Rest assured – whatever you got going on, your doctor has heard it before.

 

What you can say:

  • “I have been having thoughts about hurting myself or taking my life.”

  • “I’m lonely. I’m sick of my family, there’s no one I care about.”

  • “I haven’t been the same since my last relationship ended, I have no confidence left.”

  • “I’ve been drinking a lot lately. I drove home drunk last week.”

 

Ask lots of questions

Bro, make sure you understand everything you talk about. Ask questions, and don’t be embarrassed if you have to ask more than once; depression can make it very difficult to think clearly.

 

What you can say:

  • “What do you think is causing me to feel like this?”

  • “What treatment options or services do you recommend for me?”

  • “What can I do about my sleep/appetite/energy levels?”

  • “Do you think I should see a psychiatrist or a therapist?”

 

Discuss treatment options

It’s important to have a solid understanding of all treatment options available to you Bro – why you’re doing them, how they work, and the time frame for their effectiveness.

What you can say:

  • “What are the pros and cons of this treatment?”

  • “How long will it take till I notice if it’s working?”

  • “Will there be any side effects or other consequences?”

  • “What should I do if I don’t think it’s working?”

  • “Is there anything I should avoid doing with this treatment?”

  • “Can you treat me or can you recommend any services or other professionals?”

After your appointment

Double-check before leaving

Before you leave the office Bro, do a quick recap to clarify your understanding of the situation.

  • Explain in your own words what’s going on and what steps you will be taking to get better.

  • Make sure you and your doctor are on the same page for monitoring how you are doing with follow up appointments and how often you need them.

  • If you are having trouble remembering anything, write it down.

Referrals and Support Plans

Your GP will talk and work with you to determine what support is best for you. This could include:

  • Providing access to self-help resources, support groups, online support and referrals to community services.

  • If you are in Australia, your GP will help you with setting up a Mental Health Care Plan which allows you to claim a Medicare rebate for up to six visits to a clinical psychologist, mental health or allied mental health professional

  • Depending on your needs, your GP can also refer you for an additional four sessions if required

Different countries will offer different mental health care plans according to the countries' health care system. Please visit your local government health website for more information, or call your GP to enquire if there are any subsidies.

(Information referenced from headsupguys.org and thinkmentalhealthwa.)

CONTACT

using_phone.jpg
  • soon-873316_1280
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

BROS GLOBAL acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia as the first inhabitants of this nation and the traditional custodians of the lands where we are established.

BROS GLOBAL recognises diverse communities who, through their lived experiences, help to guide our research, resources and training development for men's mental health, wellbeing and personal development.

BROS GLOBAL respectfully acknowledges those who have died or have been affected by suicide or intentional self-harm. We are committed to ensuring our work continues to inform improvements in both community awareness and prevention of suicide and self-harm.

© 2020 by Dr Simon H Yam, BROS GLOBAL, Australia - All Rights Reserved. We use cookie to improve your experience on our site. By using our site, you consent cookies.

Please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Australian Securities and Investments Commission ABN: 13 744 819 740.