One in four people experience a mental health problem each year and the majority of those who get treatment receive it within primary care. In fact, one in three GP appointments involves a mental health component.
And our research shows that almost 90 per cent of primary care staff experience workplace stress, while two in five GPs (40%) said they had experienced mental health problem.
Improving mental health support for both patients and staff in primary care is vital.
Dr Sara Ahmed has been working in general practice for almost 14 years and in the last few years has noticed a significant increase in the number of people coming to her for mental health problems.
She believes there are some key improvements that need to be made including GPs receiving more specialist training to support people with mental health problems and having more time with patients to understand their specific needs
40% of GP appointments are mental health related – so it's vital that all GPs and practice nurses, as well as other staff such as receptionists and practice managers, receive relevant, sufficient and ongoing mental health training.
We are working closely with partners such as NHS England, Health Education England, the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Nursing to understand and address gaps in mental health training for primary care staff. Our report highlights our recommendations to improve mental health training for GPs and practice nurses in particular.
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in England and Local Health Boards in Wales play a key role in influencing what services look like at the local level. We believe there's a lot they can do to improve primary care services so they are better at supporting the mental health of their patients and staff.
We've produced two briefings about mental health in primary care which set out the challenges facing people with mental health problems, or those worried about their mental health, when they try and access support from their GP practice. We also make recommendations on how to make these services better.