Here are 5 tips for being brave enough to talk about your mental health with your doctor

Mental health is a fundamental component of health and is much more than the absence of mental disorders or disabilities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “ a state of well-being that enables everyone to realize their potential, cope with the ordinary difficulties of life, work successfully and productively, and be able to contribute to the community.” The French Public Health Agency states that there are three distinct dimensions: positive mental health (includes well-being, personal development, psychological resources and the individual’s ability to act in their social roles), reactive psychological stress caused by challenging situations and existential difficulties (bereavement, relational, academic failure etc.), but which do not necessarily indicate a mental disorder and psychiatric disorders of varying duration (more or less severe and/or disabling, refer to diagnostic classifications referring to criteria and subject to medical treatment).

Therefore, mental health is not a fixed state, it is a constant search for a state of psychological balance, specific to each person, according to their living conditions and events that they experience or have experienced. ” One cannot suffer from any mental illness without feeling in good mental health. Conversely, one can enjoy satisfactory mental well-being while having a well-treated mental disorder. Maintaining good mental health is also one of the best ways to prepare yourself to overcome difficult times in life, whether personally or professionally. », proves for its part Health insurance. It turns out that multiple individual, social and structural determinants can combine to protect or compromise our mental health throughout life, thus changing our position on the mental health spectrum. Individual psychological and biological factors such as emotional skills, substance use, and genetics can make some people more susceptible to mental health problems.

In addition, exposure to adverse social, economic and environmental circumstances also increases the risk of developing mental health problems. So when you are not doing well, for your mental health and therefore your health “in general”, you should not hesitate to talk to your doctor about it, especially if you are no longer able to carry out your daily tasks of connecting with the people around you, working and finding joy and enjoyment of life. This is really what Dr. Faith Coleman, a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, points out in an article posted on StudyFinds. “ When there are significant, adverse changes in your ability to function, it may be time to discuss your mental health with your healthcare provider. Ideally, you will already be asked questions about your mental health at each visit. However, if you only see him once or twice a year, you should start the discussion yourself. I recommend remembering these five important things about these conversations. “, she says.

Start by asking your assigned treating physician for advice.

According to Dr. Faith Coleman’s ” there is no dividing line or separation between physical and mental health. Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism can increase the risk of developing a mental health disorder. » Based on the observation that a mental health disorder can increase the risk of developing other health problems, such as heart disease or diabetes, he believes that a consultation with an attending physician is the first necessary step to start the care process. Then, if necessary, the doctor can refer patients to a professional or mental facility. Note that in France the “My Psychological Support” system allows any person who is anxious, depressed or suffering from a mental disorder to benefit from psychological support sessions covered by health insurance: a doctor can offer up to 8 psychological support sessions in a year calendar with a psychologist approved by the Health insurance company and system partner.

Prepare well in advance for your visit to the doctor

According to the expert, it is necessary to prepare for the visit for two important reasons: “ make the most of the limited time you have with your provider and have valuable information in writing because it’s easy to forget important information when you’re in a medical facility and can feel anxious.” Before visiting the doctor’s office, the doctor therefore recommends making a list of what the person wants to discuss, their questions or concerns, as well as a list of current medications, including over-the-counter (non-prescription) medications. plants, vitamins and dietary supplements. It is also appropriate to review her family history because, according to her, “itSome mental illnesses tend to be hereditary, and having a parent with a mental disorder may mean you are at higher risk of developing particular mental health problems. Knowing your family history in this area can also help your doctor recommend ways to reduce your risk and help look for warning signs of the disease. »

Consider bringing a friend or relative along

Patient associations can provide a lot of information and support by listening and sharing experiences with other people suffering from mental health problems. But parents, friends or even work colleagues are often the first confidants of a person experiencing discomfort. As such, it can be very helpful to bring a close friend or relative to your medical appointment. ” It is difficult, if not impossible, to absorb all the information provided by your health care provider during a visit, especially since concerns about your mental health can make things even more difficult. A companion can support you there to help you take notes and remember what you discussed with the provider. He may also be able to give his opinion on what he thinks about your situation. A friend or family member may be present throughout the appointment, or it is possible to meet with your doctor alone first and then ask your loved one to join you at an appropriate time during the discussion. “, defends Dr. Faith Coleman.

Be as honest as possible

There is a form of taboo around mental disorders and mental illness, fueled by fear. Added to this is the low level of knowledge of the general population, relatives and professional carers about mental health. This lack of information and stigmatization of people with a mental disorder represents a lost opportunity, as it leads to a lower quality of care and contributes to the lack of social inclusion of people with a mental disorder. However, Inserm points out on this topic that research has shown that mental illnesses are not creations of our minds: they are born in our bodies, and not necessarily in our brains, since, for example, infections or changes in the intestinal microflora seem to be involved in triggering some from them. So these are diseases in themselves that we know how to manage in most cases. That is why you should not hesitate to describe to your doctor all the symptoms you have encountered and current concerns without fear of being judged. It is not wise, on the other hand, to minimize your situation for fear of looking “so sick.”

Another doctor’s argument is that what the patient confides is unlikely to shock the doctor. ” Remember that one in five person suffers from some form of mental illness and you are not unique in this regard. Your doctor can only help you get better if you talk openly, honestly and thoroughly about your condition. This is what you need to do to get through and out of your illness to start moving towards being the best you can be. » Plus, this is the time when the vital list is prepared before the doctor’s appointment. “ Describe all your symptoms. Be specific about when they started, their severity and frequency. You should also share any major stressors or recent life changes and circumstances that could trigger or worsen your symptoms. Countless people have walked this path before you and recovered or learned to manage their illness to improve their quality of life. You can too. “, supplies.

Feel free to ask any questions

Mental health is everyone’s business, so it’s important to get information to better understand it, to have clues to take action for yourself or others by finding resources or help. But due to the number of sources of information, it is important to navigate efficiently. The first instinct is also to ask your doctor for more information about the diagnosis and treatment suggested during the consultation. “AGAINSTYou and your doctor will work together to plan a course of action, whether it’s treatment, testing, or referrals to mental health providers and services. But if you feel you need more advice than you can get from your GP, ask for referrals to other professionals or services. He will not be offended by your request for a reference and may even be relieved. I also encourage you to contact your health insurance company and mutual insurance to find out your options for mental health providers and services. ”, concludes Dr Faith Coleman.

Note that in France, the Psycom site is presented by the Ministry of Health as a national public resource for mental health reference information. “ Its mission is to provide information, communication, training and advice in the field of mental health with a focus on different target groups: the general public, young people, people with mental disorders and their loved ones and professionals in the field that deals with mental health (health, health) . medical-social, social, judicial, elected officials, education, media, etc.) and engage in the development of innovative tools in the fight against stigmatization, discrimination and social exclusion of people living with a mental disorder and their loved ones. “, he testifies. In order to identify the actors who create web content about mental disorders, Psycom has published a map designed as a compass to help navigate the web. It helps the Internet user to answer the question: who is saying what on the Internet about this topic? Many helplines are also listed in a document made available on the Public Health France website. Finally, put together a thematic file: How to take care of your mental health?

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