The Mental Health Programme provides clinical advice and support in the development of educational initiatives in primary care and contributes advice from a GP perspective into national policy and programme developments.
There are around 3,000 GPs in Ireland who manage approximately 25m consultations annually. About one fifth directly relate to a mental health symptom.
As trained specialists in mental health, knowing patients over time, GPs are experts at listening, counselling, diagnosing, risk assessing, and managing mental health.
Common conditions which GPs manage include anxiety, depression, and addiction. All mental health symptoms require a holistic approach. Accordingly, treatment options include social, psychological, and medication components. Despite chronic under resourcing, GPs manage most mental health difficulties without referral to other primary care colleagues, medication, or secondary care.
The Mental Health Programme has been supportive of Counselling in Primary Care (CIPC) and the Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurse (SCAN).