Only 52% of young people comfortable talking to GP about mental health

Release Date: 05 July 2012

Source: Mental Health Foundation

Country: United Kingdom

A study in Brighton and Hove has found that only 52% of young people aged 16–25 would feel comfortable talking to their GP about their emotional or mental health.

The survey of 172 16–25 year olds also found that 36% do not feel comfortable addressing mental health issues with their doctor.  

The research was carried out between October and December 2011 by the Right Here project in Brighton and Hove, one of four Right Here projects around the UK working with young people to develop new ways to deliver mental health services.

The study assessed young people’s experiences of visiting their GP, to identify improvements that could be made to their emotional and mental health services. The Brighton and Hove GP-led Clinical Commissioning Group is now working in partnership with Right Here to encourage changes to how GPs respond to young people’s emotional and mental health, based on the report’s findings.

Other findings included:
• Opening hours are not always compatible with the school and college timetable. More drop-ins or lunchtime appointments are needed
• Young people want to be able to request to see the same doctor all the time or request a doctor of a specific gender
• Posters and information for young people should be set aside from other medical issues so they are clear and noticeable. They should be kept up to date with clear numbers and information about places young people can go to support their mental and emotional health
• Health questionnaires / quizzes / puzzles should be available in the waiting room to increase awareness about mental health issues and act as prompts for conversations in consultations
• Young people want to be active, well informed participants in the decisions made about their health. Being involved in decision making helps young people feel more in control and have a sense of independence, and often assists in their recovery
• Young people want to be offered additional support and help with treatment options. They want their GPs to promote wellbeing resources / leaflets and websites and signpost them to local support services. GPs should utilise and promote the service map www.wheretogofor.co.uk in their practice with young people and the Right Here ‘Young Peoples Guide to Looking After Yourself’
• 41% of respondents do not know what is confidential when they visit their GP and this can prevent them from seeking help from their GP. Young people would like confidentiality outlined clearly with verbal and visual reminders

Download the full report and find out more about the project from the Right Here website.