Perhaps you’re dealing with negative thoughts or lingering sadness, or maybe you’re feeling hopeless and don’t know how to push on when you’re suffering with depression. Whatever it is, seeking help for mental health problems from a professional can be incredibly daunting.

Talking with your doctor about your mental health issues is the fastest route to determine what’s making you feel that way and what you can do to feel yourself again. But for some people, having that discussion might feel embarrassing and scary – it can be almost as troublesome as the problem itself. This article contains a few tips to help you prepare yourself for the conversation.

It’s a legitimate medical concern

This is a real illness that could require medical attention; every year, 1 in 4 people in the UK will encounter a mental health problem, so it’s far more common than you think. You can be sure it’s not the doctor’s first time dealing with a patient suffering from depression. Ignoring the stigma around mental health, and viewing it as an illness, is the first step to finding that courage to visit your doctor.

Do your homework

Familiarise yourself with the symptoms of depression, what questions the doctor may ask, and what treatments are available. If you can fully understand your symptoms and what’s triggering them, you can explain it better to a professional.

Be plain and simple

When they ask about your symptoms, do your best to not overcomplicate your feelings; simply state, for example, that you’re feeling anxious, or you feel low, or you’re not sleeping etc etc. They may be a professional that’s dealt with mental health patients for years, but they’re certainly not mind readers! They’ll need to thoroughly understand your symptoms to give you a formal diagnosis and the right treatment.

Remember; it’s their job

Doctors are there to help, not to judge. They’ve seen cases similar to yours a hundred times before – it’s nothing they can’t handle. At the end of the day, they want to help you get back to yourself again, and they will provide you with the best treatment available to achieve that. So drop your expectations of your visit, don’t diagnose yourself, and let the doctor work his or her magic!