Mental health is just as important as physical health. However, because the symptoms of mental health problems are not as overt as physical health issues, they can often be overlooked or dismissed. If you had a cold, you wouldn’t wave it off as simply having a “bad day.” You’d ensure you received proper medication and care to relieve your symptoms and better your health. The same attention should be taken with mental health. When not taken seriously, mental health issues could lead to emotional and/or physical harm to yourself and the people around you. If you have concerns about your mental health or the mental health of someone you care for, know that you can speak confidentially with your primary care physician. If you’re having trouble getting started, follow these tips to start that conversation.
Opening up about mental health concerns can be stressful and filled with anxiety. But remember, your concerns are health concerns, and your doctor is concerned about your total health. You can start by telling your doctor:
- your symptoms or how you feel
- your concerns
- any new health developments (including changes in diet, weight, sleep patterns) or if you have undergone any sort of life change or significant emotional event
- how what you feel is affecting your well-being and your overall wellness
If you think you need support, you may want to bring a family member or close friend along to help explain your situation and remind you of the discussions you’ve shared. Your doctor will most likely ask you questions to clarify your symptoms and may make suggestions for your benefit.
Ask Your Own Questions
You might have some questions and concerns of your own. Remember, there’s no such thing as a “silly question,” especially if it relates to mental health. Writing a list of questions before your visit can help you to keep track of everything you need to address. If you’re unsure of what to ask, some good starting questions are:
- What are all of my options?
- What do you think are the best options for me?
- How much better might I feel?
- When might I feel better?
- How much does a doctor visit cost?
After discovering what you’re comfortable with, both financially and emotionally, your doctor may refer you to specialized professionals such as psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists. Or, he might determine that your concerns may be stemming from other-than-mental health issues. He might order blood tests, a sleep study, or allergy testing. He will also ask about your current life situation; this is especially true for tots and teens who are going through divorce, bullying, or hormone changes.
Finding a Mental Health Care Plan for You
Once your doctor has assessed your situation, healthcare needs, goals, treatment, and referrals, everything will be recorded in your mental health care plan. It’s important to remember that while seeking professional guidance is a great step toward treatment, you also should be sure to follow your mental health care plan as prescribed. Abusing or neglecting your health plan can hinder the effectiveness or cause it to have the reverse desired effect. Talk to your doctor regularly. Be sure to discuss any new or developing reactions, both physical and emotional.
At Lynx Healthcare, your road to good health always starts with a simple conversation. Make an appointment with one of our doctors to talk about what you can do for your medical needs. To make an appointment at our offices in the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Oregon, Yakima, or Goldendale Pain Clinics, call (509) 591-0070. To make an appointment at our Spokane location, call (509) 321-4575.