Depression Alliance has merged with Mind

This website is no longer being updated

We're Mind, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to anyone with a mental health problem. We're continuing to run Friends in Need and to support Depression Alliance's self-help groups. We can offer you advice and support on depression, too.

Opening up to your GP

Talking about our feelings can be very difficult, even with those closest to us. Talking about them with a doctor might seem even harder, but this shouldn’t stop you from getting the help you need. Your GP is there to listen and to learn from you, and the more they do this the more likely they are to be able to help. The idea of talking to a doctor might feel hopeless at first, and some people feel embarrassed or guilty about what they’re experiencing. However, no two people will have exactly the same journey through depression and recovery, so your GP will need to let you do the talking so they have the best chance of understanding your particular symptoms and circumstances. In fact, some people feel a huge sense of relief after opening up.

It’s worth keeping in mind that as many as 50% of GPs in this country experience stress-related conditions like depression, so your GP might know more than you’d think.

  • Before your appointment write down your feelings. Getting a clear idea of your symptoms means you’re more likely to be able to explain them.
  • If you’re worried about clamming up, write a letter. Putting your thoughts down on paper and sending them to your GP before your appointment can help them to get a better idea of what you’re experiencing.
  • If your symptoms go up and down, try keeping a diary. Recovery can sometimes be one step forwards and two steps back, so a record of your symptoms and triggers can help you to chart your progress.
  • Be more concerned about your own feelings than your doctors. It’s easy to underplay symptoms or to keep your opinions to yourself if you’re trying to be friendly.
  • Take someone with you. A trusted friend can help you to keep track of different appointments and treatments, as well as being there for moral support. Alternatively, be honest if you’d rather go alone. Opening up to a stranger or an outsider can sometimes feel easier.

If you’re waiting for treatment for mild depression consider our self help techniques to help boost your mood and lift your spirits.