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Getting ready for a doctor's appointment – for 11-18 year olds

Tips and ideas for young people on preparing for a doctor's appointment about your mental health.

Tips on getting ready for a doctor's appointment

It can feel scary talking about your thoughts, feelings and experiences with someone you don't know. We're here to help you prepare what you want to say.

This page has tips and ideas that could help you if you're preparing what you want to say in a doctor's appointment.

Some of our tips might work better for you than others, or some tips might feel too difficult for you right now. You don't need to try anything that you don't feel comfortable with, or you could try them at another time.

I don't have an appointment yet

We have separate information if you're thinking about speaking to a doctor about your mental health

If my nerves get too much or I'm struggling with my anxiety, I can give my notes directly to my GP and discuss the issues, which has often helped me get over the initial anxiety.

Booking an appointment with your doctor

Each doctors' surgery might have slightly different ways of booking appointments.

If you call or visit the doctors' surgery to make an appointment, start by saying:

  • 'I'd like to book an appointment with a doctor [or if you know, say your doctor's name] please.'

Giving information to your doctor

The doctor's surgery will ask for your personal details, like your name and date of birth.

They might also ask what the appointment is for. You could say or write:

  • 'I'd like to talk about some things that have been going on and how it's affecting my health.'
  • 'I'm struggling with my feelings and I'd like to talk to someone about them.'
  • 'I'd like to talk about my mental health and how I’m feeling.'
  • 'I'd like to speak to a doctor about what support I can get for struggling with my feelings.'
  • 'I'd like to talk about ____ (diagnosis/a specific treatment/something that's happened).'
  • 'I'm not sure exactly what I want to talk about, but I need support for how I’m feeling/what I'm going through right now.'

This information will help them find you an appointment with a doctor who has more experience in that area.

Starting a conversation with your doctor

When you attend your appointment, either in person, or over the phone or by video call, you could start by saying:

'I'd like to talk about…'

  • How I've been feeling recently
  • My mental health
  • Some experiences and feelings I've had that I'm struggling with
  • How to get the support I need for how I feel/what I'm experiencing/my mental health
  • The things I've mentioned in my online form (if you filled one out)

'I need you to know…'

  • There are some things I might find hard to talk about
  • I need time to ask questions
  • I might need time to answer your questions
  • I might need you to explain things more than once to make sure I understand

It might feel scary to talk about your feelings and experiences with someone you don't know, but talking to your doctor is a great way to start getting support for your mental health.

Asking your doctor questions

There are no right or wrong questions to ask, but before you leave, it might help to ask questions like:

  • What do you think will help, and why?
  • Is there anything I can do to help myself?
  • What happens now? Can you tell me what the next steps are?
  • Do you know how long it will take to get the treatment we have discussed?
  • Who do I talk to after this? Is there any local or online support I can use?
  • Do I need to book a second appointment, and if so, when?
  • Is this conversation confidential?
  • Do you have more information I can take away to read later?
  • Who do I contact if things get worse or if I have any questions?

You could write these questions down or keep them in a note on your phone so you can refer to them in the appointment. You could write the answers down too or make notes during your appointment so you can read them through later.

If you need advice on what happens at a doctor's appointment and tips on how to talk to your doctor, see our guide on talking to your doctor.

Talking about mental health

Find information about ways to open up to others about your mental health.

This information was published in January 2023. We will revise it in 2026.

The quotes on this page are from young people we spoke to while making this information. They've given us their consent to use their quotes in our information. The words, experiences and opinions in the quotes are not related to the young people shown in any of the photographs we use.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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