Getting help from a GP

A General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor who has been trained to deal with all sorts of physical and mental health issues that you might have. They can diagnose, treat and give you advice about a range of physical health issues including contraception and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or personal issues such as feeling down or upset, sleeping difficulties, drug and alcohol use, or relationship problems.

Choosing a GP
Finding a GP can be as easy as asking your friends, family or someone at school. When choosing a doctor it is important to have someone who you feel comfortable with. Some things that might help you to find the right doctor may include whether you feel more comfortable talking to a male or female, or someone that's old or young and a doctor that you can get to easily.

ybblue has a list of GPs who specialise in working with young people with depression and other issues.

The student welfare co-ordinator may also have some useful suggestions.

Making an appointment
When you ring your GP to make an appointment you will talk to a receptionist. You don't need to tell the receptionist why you want to see a GP, but you will need to give your name and tell him/her what time you want to see the doctor. Appointments usually last 10-15 minutes. It's usually a good idea to request a long appointment‚ so you have plenty of time to talk about your concerns. If you don't feel comfortable on your own, it's OK to take someone along with you.

What to expect when you visit a GP
The GP will ask a range of questions to find out more about you and how you are feeling. For example, they may ask questions about your general health, your eating, exercise and sleep habits, whether you smoke or drink, how you are thinking and feeling and questions about how you are getting on at school/work and with your family and friends. This gives them a picture of you as a whole person and your overall health and well-being. They will also give you a physical check-up. After this, the GP will usually tell you what they think is going on and discuss what medical treatment or other assistance might be of help for you. Feel free to ask the doctor questions to explain anything that you don't understand or want to know more about.

Some GPs will 'Bulk Bill'‚ which means you can see them for free with your Medicare card (or if you give the number on your parents/carers card). Anyone over 15 years is eligible to have their own Medicare Card, all you need to do is fill out a form available from your GP, chemists or Medicare office. You need to provide either your parent's Medicare card or two forms of ID.
Some GPs will charge you a fee, which you have to pay on the day. If you have a Medicare Card you can get back most of this money from any Medicare Office.