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A guide to help young people talk to their GP about self-harm and suicidal experiences has been developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham in partnership with a group of youth advisors.

Launched on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September), the aim of the guide is to provide support with taking the first step towards getting help with a mental health crisis.

It was developed with the Youth Advisory Group at the University’s Institute for Mental Health and includes advice on:

  • What to consider before you visit your GP, including preparing questions, booking an appointment and bringing someone along to support you.
  • How to manage the consultation, what your rights are with respect to confidentiality, what questions your doctor might ask you, and how to manage discussions about medication, therapy and referral to mental health services.
  • What to do after the GP consultation, including how to access professional support and resources, how to use a ‘safety plan’,  getting support from family and friends, and what to do if you’re unhappy with how the consultation went.

Dr Maria Michail, of the University of Birmingham's Institute for Mental Health, says: “It can be extremely stressful not knowing what to expect from a GP consultation. This is true for most adults, but even more so for young people who are feeling emotionally vulnerable.

“The aim of this guide is to encourage young people to take that important first step. It clarifies the sorts of things they might be asked, helps them identify the sorts of questions they might want answered, and advises them about their rights in relation to mental health advice and treatment. Young people with lived experience have been at the front and centre of the development of this resource.”

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