This site is intended for health professionals only

‘Unrushed’ consultations ‘crucial’ for young people with mental health concerns

by Jess Hacker
21 January 2022

Share this article

Practices should ensure GPs are able to provide ‘unrushed’ consultations to maintain better continuity of care for young people with mental health concerns, a new study has suggested.

Offering ‘unhurried’ appointments is ‘crucial’ among 12 to 25-year-olds, who are often reluctant in engaging’ with GPs for their mental health, according to the researchers.

The systematic review, published in the BJGP, found that participants felt the standard consultation time was not long enough to adequately discuss their mental health, and that they responded more positively when offered more time.

Similarly, the researchers reported that a trusting relationship with the GP, and empathetic discussions, were key facilitators to accessing mental health support in general practice.

Both of these factors are enabled by unrushed consultations and ‘making sure every contact counts’, they said.

Additionally, the consequences of these time-limited appointments can add further stress to the wider health service, the authors suggested.

They wrote: ‘Time restrictions impact directly on the sensitive task of recognition, diagnosis, and management of problems which is required to avoid referral to stretched specialist services.’

Estimates from last year suggest that up to 730,000 additional referrals for mental health services could be made each year up to 2024, which would place ‘significant additional pressure on general practice’.

It comes one month after a Government inquiry into children’s mental health found that inadequate early intervention creates ‘unnecessary pressure’ across the NHS, including in GP practices.

Meanwhile, a December study suggested health bodies should invest in more frequent training for GPs in the care of patients with mental health disorders.