While you can struggle with mental health issues any time of the year, the holidays can be difficult, especially for those who may already deal with depression and anxiety. However, you don’t have to work through negative thoughts and feelings alone. The best place to start can be your health care provider. If you’re unsure how to approach the conversation, here are 5 tips from the National Institute of Mental Health to help you out.
1. Talk to your Primary Care Provider (PCP) at your next visit
Do you have a visit scheduled with your PCP for other health concerns? If so, this is a great opportunity to bring up any mental health concerns you may have. They may already have a routine screening process in place as part of your visit. Your PCP can help direct you to other resources including therapy or treatment.
2. Write down any concerns before your visit
Often, we forget things we want to talk about the moment we’re put on the spot. Before your next visit, begin writing down any questions or concerns you may have about your mental health. It’s also good to have an updated list of medications you’re taking as well as any mental illnesses that run in your family history.
3. Bring a close friend or someone you’re comfortable with
If you’re allowed to, ask a close friend, relative, or someone you trust to come with to your appointment. They can help provide support, relay information to you or your provider, or write down treatment information for you to review together later.
4. Honesty is the best policy
Remember that anything you discuss with your PCP is private and confidential. The best way for them to help you is if you are honest about your feelings, symptoms, and any major life changes you’re going through.
5. It’s your turn to ask questions
There is no one size fits all approach to mental health treatment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or express any concerns about the treatment options that your PCP recommends.
If you’re unsure where to begin with your mental health concerns, don’t hesitate to call your primary care physician. They can be a great resource to help you on the road to a better life.