Helping with Mental Health

We treat Mental Health very seriously at Grey Street Surgery. All our doctors are able to diagnose and treat mental health issues. Some of our GP’s have a particular interest in this area. We seek to assist all who are affected. 

  1. Diagnosis and Management - Our doctors are also skilled at recognizing other mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and drug/alcohol addiction. Management of these disorders may also need help from a specialist, so we will help you find the right management option that works best for you.

    We will endeavour to help guide and support you and your family through this, at times, difficult process. 
  2. Depression and Anxiety - Depression and anxiety affects a large percentage of our population. Over the years awareness and acceptance of these illnesses has increased, yet many people still remain quiet, or feel that they are able to cope with this problem on their own, but that is often very difficult.

    We all get down or anxious to some degree, however it becomes an illness when it has a significant effect on quality of life, lasts a significant period of time, or affects our ability to function socially or in the workplace. 

    The positive news is that depression and anxiety have safe and effective treatments.
  3. Self-Help - Self-help is a major weapon in the treatment of mental illnesses. Your doctor will help guide you in what you can do yourself. Self-education, physical exercise, relaxation exercises, problem solving (e.g. addressing work-life balance), adequate sleep, and a healthy lifestyle are examples of self-help opportunities.

    Recommended websites that also give self help guidance:
    • Depression and bipolar disorder: blackdoginstitute.org.au
    • Anxiety disorders: crufad.org
    • Perinatal and general mental health: beyondblue.org.au
    • General psychiatric problems: psychcentral.org 
  4. Psychotherapy - This is therapy conducted between a patient and a qualified therapist. We are fortunate to have several therapists in the Northam Region which helps to reduce travelling and makes it an affordable option. Psychotherapy (often called Counselling) is a conversation between two people with the aim of looking at some of the causes of the Mental Health illness and ways of being able to overcome those issues.

    At times it is appropriate to prepare a Mental Health Care Plan which means that the visits for the psychotherapy are mainly covered by Medicare (there may be a small gap in some cases). Your GP will be able to decide if that is the best avenue to follow.

    We also fortunate in Northam to have the services of Wheatbelt Mental Health Team who are also able to offer support for people of all ages with Mental Health problems and they also have visiting Psychiatrists when extra treatment may be required. 
  5. Medication - Anti-depressants are a safe, effective, and non-addictive form of medication. If side effects occur, they can often be easily managed, or an alternative antidepressant prescribed.

    Getting the most out of antidepressants requires skill and experience from the prescribing doctor. Sometimes the first medication works but often juggling of medications and dosages is required. Sometimes combinations of medications are needed. You can be sure that your GP is able to help manage this aspect of your treatment. 

If you feel that you may be suffering from a mental illness of some kind, then it is often helpful to ask for a longer appointment when you make your booking. This gives time for your doctor to better assess what is happening.