Patients turn to GPs for mental health

GPs are rated as the health professionals most likely to be helpful if a person has depression and suicidality, an Australian survey shows.

The study also suggested lay people were getting better at recognising different mental illnesses and their optimum treatments, researchers said.

Almost 75% of respondents were able to correctly answer “depression” after they were presented with a scenario of depression symptoms, the research found.

About a third were able to accurately label schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, but fewer than one in 10 could identify social phobia.

The survey, conducted for Orygen Youth Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, included telephone interviews with 6000 people aged 15 years or older, and had a response rate of 44%.

Asked about the helpfulness of various professionals, more respondents nominated a GP for depression (90%) compared to counsellor (86.9%),