The process of telling your GP and what to say. What happens if you tell your GP about your self-harm and how would you tell them? And would you just tell them about it or go into details about the reasons behind it? As I'm 18, it would remain confidential right?

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By: Dr Ralph

on: 21.12.14

Dear Hally,

What an excellent and important question.

First, as you are 18 anything you tell your GP is confidential to the GP and yourself although, if the GP thinks it is necessary to refer you to a specialist, the GP will need to let the specialist know the reason for the referral. Any referral also remains confidential to the specialist and their team.

I like patients to be open, honest and ‘up front’, although I do know this is both difficult and can be stressful. Perhaps because of my experience over many years of of working with patients who self harm gives me an advantage, all G.P’s should be able and ready to listen to your story and address your concerns and needs without any judgement or bias.

In order to help the patient we need to know: 1. the problem, 2. the symptoms, 3. the history, and 4. the affect. For example, if I go to my GP and tell them that I have a headache they will need to know how severe the pain is, how long I have had the pain, what might have caused the pain and any other circumstances that may relate to the cause of the pain. The treatment could be anything from simple pain relief to referral to the hospital and everything in-between including eye tests, changing diet, lowering light levels or the volume level on the radio etc.

The more information the GP has the better. Why not write down the issues you are and have had in order that when you visit the GP you can give a full account of the difficulties and actions that have affected you and ask openly and honestly for the GP’s help and input. This is always (I believe) the best way to get the most appropriate help and possible treatment for any physical, mental health or other problem we might have.

Again, good question, be honest with yourself and with your GP.

I do hope that you get the help and advice that you need and want.

With kind regards

Dr Ralph Harkness

The Author:
Hally

on: 22.12.14

Thank you so much for your reply (I wasn’t expecting one at all ha). Your scenario is really helpful and things are much clearer for me now. You make it sound so simple, which I guess is a good thing as it can be so easy to over complicate things. It was more than helpful, thank you!