#123GP wants to hear your experience of accessing mental health care from your GP

The #123GP campaign is gathering the experiences of people who have sought help for their mental health from their GP. A new survey has just been launched -  Read on to find out why and how you can contribute your own experiences or those of your loved ones.

Over 90% of people with a mental health problem will be treated by their GP, but all too often people don't receive the care they need. Sadly this can have serious and at times profound consequences for people's health and well-being.   

One in three GP appointments are for mental health, and calls for better mental health training for GPs have been made by GPs ( Royal College GPs) and mental health charities alike. ( Mind). 

Initial research carried out by #123GP campaign found that most patients and carers interviewed were NOT confident about their GP's ability to help them when it came to mental health. 

We know that currently only half of all trainee GPs have to undertake a placement in a mental health facility, which is usually hospital based rather than in a community based setting. We also know that practising GPs do not have to undertake mental health training as part of their Continuous Professional Development (CPD). 

Only two thirds of GP practices draw down funding available from the Health and Social Care Board for counselling, despite all practices being eligible to do so. Professionals with mental health expertise are no longer based in GP practices. 

The #123GP campaign is calling for all GPs to be equipped with mental health expertise.  Here are 3 changes which could significantly improve mental health care provided by GPs

1) Funding - 100% of GP practices to draw down available HSCBoard funding for counselling.

2) Training - ALL trainee GPs to undertake community based mental health placements. ALL practising GPs to undergo mandatory professional mental health training.

3) Available expertise - professionals with mental health expertise to be based in GP practices and to work as part of the primary care team. 

We want to find out what people's experiences of all of these issues has been. We are very keen for as many people as possible to complete the survey - it only takes a few minutes. 

You can complete the survey as an individual or as part of a group. Get in touch via email sara@pprproject.org or telephone 90 313315. 

We are also running workshops on  ' Counselling and GPs - Your Rights - get in touch if you'd like to avail of these.