A study has shown that only 52 percent of people aged 16-25 would feel comfortable talking to their GP about their mental well-being. The survey was conducted in Brighton and Hove by the Right Here project.
The report identified several areas that needed improvement in order for young people to feel more comfortable. The majority of individuals surveyed felt they were not taken seriously by their GPs. Many said that surgery appointments did not fit well around a school timetable, and that they did not feel that their needs were seen as important as others.
Most young people were unclear on the rules of confidentiality, and were unaware of their rights. Many wanted to be able to build a relationship with one GP who was familiar with their problems, but had trouble getting the same one every time.
When asked what kind of response they wanted from their GP in regards to emotional and mental health problems, 46 percent of respondents said a chat or someone to talk to, 33 percent answered referral to a counsellor or mental health professional and 21 percent would like medication. Many young people complained that GPs were too quick to just prescribe medication as an easy option.
The worry is that without action young people may feel discouraged to go to their GP until their problems are in crisis. It is estimated that one in 10 children between five and 16 has a recognised mental health disorder, and one in 15 11-25-year-olds self-harm. The transition into adulthood is commonly the time when issues such as depression can manifest.
Young people surveyed wanted GPs to be given better training in both mental health and in talking to young people about their problems. Many felt that they were talked down to, and not treated as an adult. GPs were criticised in some cases for being patronising and judgmental, and young people felt they were not involved in the decision making process.
As a result of the study, Right Here recommended that surgeries increase their online facilities to make things easier for young people. The project is also working to increase awareness of confidentiality issues in young people.
For more information go to http://www.righthere.org.uk/
Written by Katy McIntosh