Discussing Mental Health With Doctors

Communicating with health care professionals can be intimidating. It can be easy to doubt your ability to know what to communicate with the doctor, and how to communicate it clearly and effectively. Working through this guide with your loved one will you help you feel prepared if accompanying them to an upcoming appointment or give you the ability to help your loved one prepare themselves for an upcoming appointment.

What to Discuss

The typical doctor appointment lasts 15 minutes. Preparing a list of issues/concerns to be discussed with your loved one’s doctor at the appointment will make sure that all questions are addressed and an appropriate treatment is provided.

General Symptoms and Changes from Last Appointment

  • Changes in mood
  • Increased irritability
  • Increased feelings of anxiety
  • Changes in energy levels
  • Changes in appetite
  • Intensity of delusions or hallucinations
  • Strength of obsessions
  • Duration of compulsions or time spent on compulsions
  • Number of panic attacks


  • Changes in medications
  • Provide information on any new medications prescribed, any medications stopped since prior visit, and any changes in dosage
  • Difficulties taking medication(s) on time or as prescribed
  • Development of any side effects
  • Changes in response to medication(s)

Communicating Effectively

How you communicate with the doctor is just as important as what you’re communicating.

Step 1: Establish Presence

Step 2: Participate Actively

Step 3: Built Mutual Understanding

Step 4: Encourage Collaboration