RYAN GILBERT: Honesty and open communication are crucial for your mental health | Health


Most relationship experts agree that the key to any healthy relationship is a foundation built on honesty and communication. Whether it’s with your partner, your children, or a good friend, problems always arise when people keep secrets, withhold the truth, or suppress their thoughts and feelings on critical issues.

Honesty and communication are also key when it comes to establishing a successful partnership with your primary care provider (PCP). When you fail to disclose the health issues you are having, especially mental health issues, it can interfere with your provider’s ability to provide quality care, producing negative health care outcomes.

Without an open and honest dialogue about a patient’s mental health, PCPs don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle to resolve medical issues, which can lead to additional and unnecessary tests, misdiagnoses, and ineffective treatments. This can ultimately cost the patient more time, more money and, more importantly, their well-being.

So why are some patients reluctant to talk to their PCP about their mental health? Some reasons may include:

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Embarrassment or fear of judgment — Although attitudes towards mental health and its management have certainly improved over the decades, many people still feel embarrassed when discussing their mental health and fear stigma associated with mental illness that could affect their position in the community or their career.

Stigma — Others may have a self-stigma that accepting treatment to improve their mental health is an admission of weakness or a shameful character flaw, discouraging patients from seeking help. Part of treating mental health is overcoming and reframing these misconceptions as medical care, similar to treating high blood pressure or diabetes, all without judgment.

Desire not to interfere with the supplier — Some patients minimize the importance of their mental health and refrain from telling their provider that they are having difficulty because they don’t want to bother them or “waste their time”. While doctors, nurse practitioners and other healthcare providers are always busy, our priority is always to take care of the patient first, and their whole health, not just their physical health. Be open with your provider about how you are doing to get the support you need and deserve.

You are concerned that other medical symptoms may be considered mental health issues — Another valid concern that is sometimes raised is that a mental health diagnosis will overshadow complaints of other medical conditions. While there can be a lot of overlap between your mental health and other health issues, treating one can often benefit the other, and speaking honestly with your provider can help ensure that all the bases are covered and that your treatment is more effective.

At HopeHealth, an integrated care model is used to better address these concerns, offering same-day care for behavioral health when a patient reports concerns to their primary care provider. Integrated care helps emphasize that your physical and mental health are both important and influence each other, taking into account your overall health.

Vicky Peterkin, Behavioral Health Consultant Serving Patients at HopeHealth Medical Plaza, says, “The Integrated Care Model is an invaluable approach to supporting patients by providing effective and efficient care that reflects and meets the patient’s health needs. whole person. The model provides access to a medical provider and a mental health professional on the same day, leading to better health care outcomes.

Although it may seem overwhelming and scary to be vulnerable with your primary care provider, it can improve your overall health for the better. With honesty, more holistic and cost-effective healthcare leads to faster resolutions, so you feel better sooner.

If you are ready to talk about your mental health with a primary care provider, contact HopeHealth to schedule an appointment. We are here to help you.

Dr. Ryan Gilbert is a family physician at HopeHealth Medical Plaza in Florence. He completed his residency at the Mercer University/MCCG Family Medicine Residency Program in Macon, Georgia, and is a Fellow of the American Board of Family Medicine and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Fluent in English and Spanish, Dr. Gilbert cares for patients and families of all ages.

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