The first step to sussing mental health concerns

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“If you’re worried about your mental health, or the mental health of someone you know, now is the time to see your GP.”

That’s the message from The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, who are supporting this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week theme of ‘Reimagine Wellbeing Together’.

The College’s medical director Dr Bryan Betty says we could all play a part in supporting each other's wellbeing during Mental Health Awareness Week.

Figures from the Mental Health Foundation show 80 per cent of New Zealanders over the age of 15 had personally experienced mental illness or knew someone who had.

"COVID-19 has meant 2020 has been a difficult year. Whether it’s been anxiety about the spread of the virus or how long it might last, or worries about its economic impact, COVID-19 has affected the health and wellbeing of many of us," says Dr Betty.

"Mental Health Awareness Week is a good time for New Zealanders to check in with family, friends, and work colleagues and ask how they are managing, and if they aren’t, they should contact their GP for a chat," he says.

"GPs are trained to listen and diagnose, and they have strong, long-term relationships with their patients making them a great place to turn to for help.

"Mental health is a significant issue across New Zealand and has become even more significant during COVID-19. We all have a role to play in supporting the people we know through this difficult time.

"Remember any conversation you have with your GP is completely confidential, as is any help or support they may offer you."

You can find out more about the wide range of support on offer by visiting the Mental Health Awareness Week website here.

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