At Green Square Health, we understand that adolescence can be a challenging time, filled with emotional ups and downs. As a concerned parent or guardian, it’s essential to be aware of your teen’s mental health and seek assistance when necessary. A crucial first step in recognising and addressing mental health concerns in adolescents is visiting a general practitioner (GP).

When Should My Teen See Their GP?

It’s natural for adolescents to experience mood swings and temporary distress. However, if you notice persistent changes in your teen’s behaviour, emotions, or thoughts, it’s a sign that something more significant might be going on. Seeking medical advice from a GP is an excellent way to gain insights into your teen’s mental well-being and explore available treatment options.

We also help our adolescent patients understand that they can be in charge of their health. Where possible and appropriate we like to make time to speak to them one on one so they can be free to share things that might not be said when parents and caregivers are in the room. And then we have part of the consult together with everyone involved also for collateral history where appropriate.

How Can a GP Help with a Mental Health Issue?

Visiting a GP can provide your teen with practical guidance and support for managing their mental health. Our GPs are equipped to assist by:

  1. Conducting an Assessment: Our compassionate GPs will ask questions about your teen’s signs, symptoms, and the duration of their distress. This assessment helps in understanding the underlying issues.
  2. Providing Information: We offer information about available support resources for both you and your teen. Knowledge is empowering, and knowing where to turn for help is essential.
  3. Referral to Specialists: If necessary, our GPs can refer your teen to a psychologist or other mental health professionals who specialise in adolescent mental health.
  4. Mental Health Treatment Plan: Your GP can create a Mental Health Treatment Plan, which may allow your teen to receive a Medicare rebate when visiting a psychologist.
  5. Medication if Required: In some cases, medication might be prescribed to alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being.

Diagnosis and Adolescents

Diagnosing mental health conditions in teenagers can be complex, as there can be multiple factors at play. It may take time before a GP can definitively diagnose a mental illness, as opposed to temporary emotional distress. Additional assessments by psychiatrists or psychologists may be recommended to gain a comprehensive understanding of your teen’s condition.

Getting the Most Out of a GP Visit

Here are some tips to ensure your teen gets the most out of their visit to our clinic:

  • Prepare: Help your teen articulate their feelings and symptoms before the appointment. Writing them down can make the conversation with the GP more productive.
  • Be Informed: Be ready to answer questions about your teen’s medical history, family history of mental illness, changes in behavior, and any traumatic experiences.
  • Ask Questions: Encourage your teen to ask questions during the visit. This proactive approach can help your teen gain a better understanding of their mental health and the available treatment options.

Meet the GP: Dr. Rupert Higgins

At Green Square Health, we are proud to introduce Dr. Rupert Higgins, who has a special interest in adolescent mental health. With his expertise and dedication, Dr. Higgins is here to provide compassionate care and support to your teen during their mental health journey.

Booking an Appointment

Booking an appointment with Dr. Rupert Higgins or any of our healthcare professionals is easy and convenient. You can book online via our website at www.gshealth.com.au. We understand that timely access to care is essential for your teen’s well-being, and our user-friendly online booking system makes it simple to schedule an appointment that suits your needs.

Resources and Where to Get Help

At Green Square Health, we understand that seeking help and support for adolescent mental health is essential. Here are some valuable resources and helplines where you can find assistance:

  • Kids Helpline: Provides telephone and online counseling for individuals aged 5-25. Call 1800 55 1800.
  • headspace: Offers online, in-person, and phone support tailored to the needs of people aged 12-25.
  • ReachOut.com: A youth online mental health service that offers a wealth of resources and information for young people facing mental health challenges.
  • SANE Australia: Offers support for individuals living with a mental illness. You can reach them at 1800 187 263.
  • Lifeline: Provides support for anyone going through a personal crisis. Call 13 11 14 for assistance.
  • Suicide Call Back Service: If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, you can reach out for support at 1300 659 467.
  • Head to Health: This service offers advice and helps connect you to local mental health services. Call 1800 595 212 (please check the operating times).

These resources are here to ensure that you and your teen have access to the help and guidance you need during challenging times. Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, and there are professionals and organisations ready to assist you on your journey towards better mental health.

Dr Rupert Higgins GP
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