Beyond the physical

  • Treating mental illness a crucial part of general practice
  • However registrars not routinely given opportunity to work in this area
  • Registrar focus often on physical symptoms - "detective work" needed to uncover mental illnesses

It might be a mild dose of the blues, trauma surrounding a severe illness, or a major illness such as schizophrenia. Mental health issues come in many shapes and forms, but they almost always present first in the setting of primary care. 

“The level of mental illness is quite high, with one in five people having a mental health problem, according to the [Federal Government’s] national mental health survey,” says Dr Caroline Johnson, a medical educator with regional training provider (RTP) Victorian Metropolitan Alliance. 

For GP registrars, that means a confident grasp of mental health issues is essential from the start of their careers.