Mental health - Where do I Even Start? Take Charge of Your Life and Health
July 26, 2019
By Kim Martin, Medical Administrator
For the last 8 years, I have worked with Dr. Michael R Lyon, ABOM. Our patients are quite complex and many have some Mental Health issues.
OK so what does that mean? “Issues”?
Many people suffer from stress, anxiety, mood, and other related disorders. Most of the time we - and I include myself - have good or bad days. The behaviour we display may be triggered by an event or ongoing stresses. These stresses can come from family, friends, work, financial worries, and much more.
Our body language will change when we are in a new environment. When we are unsure of going to see a new doctor, we may be quiet and reserved because we may think that the outcome of the physician consultation could be judgement on our appearance or attitude.
The “Flight or Fight" instinct to protect ourselves may affect the people we meet and our interactions. When we need help, that fear may create anxiety and cause us to feel quite unwell and might hold us back from seeking the help we need.
The definition of Mental Health is: " the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity"
WHEW...OK but what about when I feel really bad for awhile and family or friends can't help me?
Many patients don't know this but your Family Doctor is trained to help. You can call the office and tell the MOA, I really don't feel well, I am sad and frustrated. Your family doctor may administer a questionnaire called a GAD7 or a PHQ9. These questionnaires are very useful to measure the state you currently are in.
Family doctors can provide some counselling during your visit and can assist in a referral to a resource for your care. Sometimes a doctor will treat with medication or may recommend professional counselling. If finances are an issue, your doctor can look into some resources like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy courses that may be recommended to help you learn to approach problems and find solutions. If you live in the Tri-cities or New Westminster, the Primary Care Network initiative has recently funded free counselling through SHARE society. Also, the brand-new Pathways Community Services Directory can provide information regarding some free or low-cost services that you can access either by a phone call, online or by getting your family doctor to refer you.
It is very empowering to take charge of your life and health. Sometimes we just need a little help to get there.
My next blog will be about What are Mood Disorders and how does that affect my health?
Till next time
Kim Martin is the Medical Office Manager for the Obesity Medicine and Diabetes Institute and the Medical Weight Management Program. She is a 20-year Medical Administrator working with Specialists and General Practitioners. She is certified with the Practice Support Program for the Doctors of BC and has a certificate in Mental Health First Aid from the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Kim has an extensive education background, and received a Certificate of Marketing Management from BCIT.