One of the challenges facing GPs is keeping up to date with programs that can help our patients.
One that we have found useful for our young male patients is a new program launched by Headspace, called headcoach, which helps them understand that mental health is just as important to understand as physical health.
Headspace has worked with some of Australia’s best athletes to find out what strategies they use to help manage difficult thoughts and feelings. The strategies are many are varied –meditation, taking a digital detox, listening to music, spending time outdoors and writing things down.
Another great resource we have found is a newly launched podcast from ABC called Mindfully, with Sydney Swans legend, Brett Kirk exploring how to use mindfulness in different areas to become calmer and happier.
As we all know, alcohol and other drugs may feel like they help in difficult times, but can interfere with your mental health and make you feel worse in the long run.
We also know there is a strong link between what we eat and how we feel. A poor diet can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression compared with a healthy diet of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and nuts.
Sleep improves mood, concentration and increases resilience. Reducing the things that interfere with sleep, such as noise, light and social media help improve sleep quality
Each of the various strategies have further tips and suggestions for how to achieve the goals and can be useful to refer to when talking to our young male patients: taking time to do the things they enjoy, strategies to manage difficult thoughts and feelings, reducing alcohol, improving diet, improving sleep quality, staying connected to friends and family and staying active.
Another campaign we have found useful is, #YouCanTalk, a suicide prevention campaign aimed at giving people the confidence to respond to friends and family when they need help and guide them to the right support services. The campaign is a powerful union of beyondblue, Black Dog institute, Everymind, headspace, reachOut and R U OK? #YouCanTalk highlights the resources available to support and access current information, programs, services and research within suicide prevention in Australia.
Dr Lisa Surman, CBD West Medical Centre, Perth, WA
Member of Best Practice Software’s Clinical Leadership Advisory Committee
“Often patients spend time talking about current medical and social issues, taking valuable time away from dealing with what they have really come in to discuss. One of our solutions is to direct them to news articles on our website written by a doctor in our Practice that outline current issues and offer strategies to manage the problem and links to relevant, reputable websites”.