The world has changed, but there’s support if you need it

WA Primary Health Alliance’s See Your GP campaign is a reminder that, now more than ever, it’s important to take care of your own health and wellbeing, and your GP is a great place to start a conversation about your mental health.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, firstly creating fear among the public over seeing their GP for checkups and other treatment, what is now becoming evident is the impact on our mental health.

Anyone who feels their wellbeing has been impacted by the pandemic, financial stress or social isolation is encouraged to contact their local GP for help.

Campaign advocate and Bridgetown Medical Group GP Sarah Youngson said some people might have experienced a mental health condition for the first time as a result of the pandemic, and GPs were well placed to provide care.

A dressed in a black jacket woman smiling
See Your GP campaign advocate Dr Sarah Youngson.

“Your GP will be your first port of call if you are feeling mentally unwell,” she said.

“The pandemic has had a real impact on wellbeing, when it comes to feeling isolated or the financial ramifications inducing stress.

“We have seen increased rates of anxiety and depression and we are supporting patients through that. It’s so important that people go and get help.”

In addition to the emphasis on mental health, the campaign continues to remind WA residents, particularly those with long-term conditions, to contact their local GP for regular check ups, or at the first instance of feeling unwell.

Dr Youngson said it was important that people stay on top of their health and confirmed that her practice and others had noticed a drop off in appointments, even via phone.

“There are many reasons for this. I know not everyone feels comfortable discussing medical information over the phone, or they don’t have access to the technology needed for a video link.

“But we still do in-person appointments and urge people to make their health a priority.”

Until at least 30 September, those who are unable to see their GP in person can still access services through the phone or by telehealth, an appointment held through videoconferencing.

Anyone experiencing distress can seek immediate advice and support through Beyond Blue (1800 512 348), Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800), or the Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health.