how GP's treat young people
I think GPs relationship and their opinion of young people, under the age of 25 is ridiculous. My experience of them is awful, it is always an in and out really quickly. I think they think you are being irrational unless it is a serious thing like you have broken an arm or something obvious like that. My friend when to the GP the other day to get a top up of a birth control pill and the GP was like ‘oh ok here you are’ – they didn’t weigh her, measure her, talk to her or anything like that just gave her a prescription for 2 years. How does that GP know that in two years her body is not going to change or the pill is not going to suit her. A perfect example of how they don’t deal with young people seriously, they just want to get you out the way quickly to see to someone else. It’s a quick fix for them. I know they don’t like dealing with it (birth control). Even when I went recently because I wanted advice about different birth control, I was in there for two minutes and I just thought that service wasn’t good enough.
My other friend her experience with they way they dealt with her mental health issue. She went to the doctors because she was severely depressed they acknowledged that ‘yes, here you go and just gave her medication’. They didn’t refer her to any counsellors, anyone that she could talk to, it was just here is a pill off you go. I think that makes it worse because she now thinks that the drugs will make her better and she doesn’t need to talk to anyone or anything. My friends are all art students, creative people and I think the doctors just think we are making it up. If the doctor had said ‘right here is the name of a counsellor you have got an appointment for next week just go and talk to them’ she would definitely have gone. But she won’t go and find one herself, especially now she has the drugs it’s too much effort.
It definitely needs to change the way they help young people with mental health. So many of my friends have anxiety and depression and they all say if you go to the GP they are awful. I am lucky as I have a supportive family and I just went to my Mum and she helped me get help and it was fine. When I was in London and I was going through a scary time and I kept thinking of going to the GP, but I didn’t want to because I have had negative experiences and it put me off. Then again you just don’t know where else to go. Its not a known thing that there are other amazing people like Young Minds that you can go and see or therapists in Uni that are there for you. I just want to be treated seriously and the same way as if you had a broken arm, it should all be treated the same. They should give you all the advice that you need.
I hate speaking to the people on the front desk when you ring and they find out you are a young person they just put you to one side and tell you to come in a month’s time. I don’t like going to GPs, unless I know it is for something serious such as an obvious issue like I have got a massive wound on my arm. Anything else like birth control, or mental health I personally don’t like going to the doctors for that. Last time I went to the doctors I wanted to talk about an implant for birth control and they made me see a nurse. It took me ages to get an appointment because I am at university and they said I had to go there because I wasn’t registered. But I was on holiday and I don’t have time at Uni and I wanted my Mum to come with me. So I waited ages to get an appointment and when I got there I was in and out in two seconds . The nurse just gave me three leaflets, she didn’t ask me any questions or explain anything and she told me to go and see the doctor at university. I came back out and saw my Mum and she said ‘no that’s not good enough’ and she took me straight back in. Then when she came in with me we sat down for ages and she talked through everything and then told me about the family planning clinic in Colchester where I could go. They treat adults completely differently. They look at you as though you are wasting their time. They are like why have you come here when you could go to the clinic to talk about birth control or why have you come here about depression when you could see a counsellor. But as a young person you just don’t know about that, you only know about going to see the doctor when you need help. You go to the doctor if you’ve got a problem or the dentist if you have got tooth ache – that is the known thing to do. You don’t know that if you are getting anxious you go to a counsellor, you go to the doctor!
I wish my friends could have got sent to a counsellor, the one I saw was so lovely and I feel so much better she really understands what it is like for young people – it was worth the money definitely.