• Question: How well do you think mental health is approached from a professional standpoint? Is there anything that can be done better, or that you, personally, think should change?

    Asked by Josh S to Nicola, Laurence on 24 Jun 2021.
    • Photo: Laurence Quirk

      Laurence Quirk answered on 24 Jun 2021:

      Hi Josh.
      Great question. In the main its approached with sensitivity and linked to physical health. For example a health care professional will explore physical health issues to see if there are any physical issues that could be impacting on mental wellbeing. Generally clinicians look at a range of solutions and work with the patient to ask them what they would like to happen. They may talk about medication, getting good sleep, eating well, exercising and what might be causing them stress. They will encourage patients to check in, to see how things are going especially if they are taking any medication for their mental health such as anti-depressants. Thinking about mild mental health issues, they would talk about about alternatives to medication such as talking therapies. Sometimes access to those talking therapies may have long waiting times, which can be difficult for anyone in crisis or distress. That’s in part because of demand on the services and is perhaps one thing that could be done better. There may be other groups a healthcare professional can direct patients to e.g. self-help groups for men with mental health problems or for people with eating disorders or websites such as MIND. In Nottingham we have some staff called social prescribers who will know about local groups and activities which people may benefit from to help improve mental health. They can help connect them and possibly go with them on a first few occasions if they are shy or anxious about meeting others. It could be the local gym or help to find job or to access benefits or manage their finances in a way that could reduce their stress. I could probably write an essay!