With limited access to mental health resources, it’s imperative that we know how to intervene early on to prevent a mental health crisis.
Did you know that meeting with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) is one of the best access points for assessing your mental health needs?
You might have noticed during your annual exam that your doctor provided a mini mental health screening, looking for any possible signs of a mental illness. Signs and symptoms of mental illness can often mimic a physical health condition, which is why primary care physicians are fully equipped to review medical records, lab results and exams — prior to jumping to a diagnosis.
Common signs and symptoms might include:
- Ongoing headaches
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Upset stomach
- Constant worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased irritability or anger
- Withdrawal from normal activities
- Sleep disruption
- New onset of alcohol or drug abuse
If you are identified as being at-risk for a mental illness, your doctor can help triage any ongoing psychiatric care. This might involve referrals to psychiatrists, local therapists, or even starting a medication.
Primary care physicians most commonly treat depression, anxiety and emotional distress related to daily life events. If the condition can be stabilized with medication, a PCP can typically take over the role of prescribing refills. This alleviates the need to wait months to be seen by a psychiatrist. It also allows for care to be continued with a provider who already has established rapport.
So next time you’re feeling physically or mentally unwell, go ahead and call your doctor to schedule an appointment.
About the Author
Organizations are in a constant state of change and the Kinetiq Health team supports them every step of the way. A unique formula of people, processes and technologies enables our team to keep an educated eye on the financial and clinical implications of data to move organizations toward improved financial health and employee well-being.