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Our policy work with GPs

On this page, we talk about how we're campaigning to make sure the mental health of both patients and staff are better supported in GP practices and pharmacies.

Each year, 1 in 4 of us experience a mental health problem. Most of us who get treatment receive it in primary care. And when we see our GP, 1 in 3 appointments involve some mention of mental health.

Our research shows that almost 90% of primary care staff experience workplace stress. 2 in 5 GPs said they had experienced a mental health problem.

That's why mental health support for both patients and staff in primary care is crucial.

What's primary care?

Primary care is the first service you see when you're getting healthcare. It could be your GP or your dentist, for example.

A GP's Perspective

Dr Sara Ahmed has been working in general practice for almost 14 years. In the last few years, she has noticed a significant increase in people coming to her for mental health problems.

She believes some key improvements need to be made. These include GPs receiving more specialist training to support people with mental health problems. Plus GPs having more time with patients to understand their specific needs.

Read Sara Ahmed's story

Improving mental health training

40% of GP appointments are related to mental health. It's important that all GP staff, including:

  • GPs
  • practice nurses
  • receptionists
  • practice managers

receive relevant, good quality and continuing mental health training.

We're working closely with partners such as:

to understand and address gaps in mental health training for primary care staff. We've also written a report highlighting our recommendations to improve mental health training for GPs and practice nurses.

Read our report: Better equipped, better care

Working with service commissioners

What's a service commission?

A service commission is a group of professionals that make decisions about how a service will work and be effective for its users.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England and Local Health Boards in Wales play an important part role in influencing what services look like at the local level. There's a lot they can do to improve primary care services to better support the mental health of their patients and staff.

We've produced 2 briefings about mental health in primary care. The briefings set out the challenges facing those of us with mental health problems when they try and access support from their GP practice. We also make recommendations on how to make these services better.

Download our briefing for England

Download our briefing for Wales (in English)

Download our briefing for Wales (in Welsh)

Join our campaign

If you work in a primary care service and you'd like to find out how you can get involved in our campaign, email the team [email protected]

Other ways to get involved

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