Search

Havering Mind calls on GPs to step up support for mental health

PUBLISHED: 10:00 03 December 2016

HaveringMind volunteers about to set out to deliver posters and leaflets to local GP surgeries

HaveringMind volunteers about to set out to deliver posters and leaflets to local GP surgeries

Archant

As a report shows that one in three GP appointments are related to mental health, Chloe Farand finds out about how doctors can help refer patients to adequate services

Talking to a GP about mental wellbeing can be a daunting experience but doctors remain the first point of contact for the majority of people experiencing a mental issue.

But mental health charity Havering Mind is calling on GPs across the borough to ensure they have appropriate training on mental health and have invited them to come and see first hand the work they do.

This comes after the charity’s annual report shows that from the 410 new people being referred to its services during the last financial year, only 8.7per cent came from local GPs.

Chief executive of Havering Mind Vanessa Bennett told the Recorder: “This is a very low figure and one in which we are extremely keen to improve on.

“When discussing a person’s mental health, the conversation usually ends with a directive to ‘speak to your GP’ about the issue. A persons’ GP is a sign poster, and often it is a patient’ access to a service that is going to help their mental wellbeing.”

Statistics seem even lower when considering one in three GP appointments across the UK are related to mental health, according to a report by Mind.

It should also be noted that routine checks at a surgery are usually no longer than 10 minutes, a short time to speak about sensitive issues such as mental wellbeing.

To help make GPs and patients more aware of the services Havering Mind has to offer, a group of 10 volunteers visited a total of 44 surgeries – or about half of the borough’s practices – last week to distribute information packs and leaflets about the charity.

“In GP surgeries, you always see information about physical illnesses such as cancer, heart problems and others, but rarely information regarding a person’s mental wellbeing,” added Vanessa.

A spokeswoman from Havering CCG, which is made up all of the borough’s GP practices and commissions community care and mental health services, said: “We have a strong commitment to mental health, which we recognise is every bit as important as physical health.”

She added the CCG had been investing in talking therapies in the borough this year and has seen referrals rising significantly while it continues to commission an employment and volunteering scheme for people in recovery.

But data compiled by Mind also shows that across England, less than half of trainee GPs undertook a training placement in a mental health setting.

The Recorder has tried to speak to the GP mental health lead in the borough, but we received no reply to our interview request.

The CCG said training was taken “very seriously” and that it “supports and encourages” GPs to keep it up to date.

It added the GP mental health lead was visiting every practice in the borough to provide guidance on how to recognise mental health needs, diagnose dementia and provide information on where to refer patients experiencing depression or psychosis for the first time.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Romford Recorder. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The NHS Test and Trace service brings together testing, contact tracing and outbreak management into an end-to-end service to stop the spread of the virus and help us move out of lockdown.

The UK Government has launched a campaign to shine a light on businesses and employees across the country who have responded to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in remarkable ways and are now going back to business.

Veterans are providing vital skills across a range of projects to help the country tackle the current coronavirus outbreak. From helping to build Nightingale Hospitals to delivering essential supplies to those who are shielding, they have helped thousands of people across the country. We take a look at how one such veteran is helping out.

Most read news

Education Promo

News from your area

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the Romford Recorder