Seeing your GP
Parents and Caregivers
If you’re worried about your child and their emotional well-being or behaviour, talking to your GP is a good place to start. You might also consider talking to other relevant people such as your health visitor, the school nurse or a teacher. Your GP is the person that can refer your child for specialist mental health services if needed. They can also discuss your worries, and help you find reliable information and local support.
Each topic listed on this website has information to help you decide what you can do to support your child and whether you should seek professional help.
If you decide to see your GP, it can be a good idea to arrange a phone call or a visit to the GP without your child first, to explain your concerns first. Writing down what you or others have noticed or are worried about can be helpful too. Consider whether your child might prefer to talk to the GP alone for all or part of the appointment if they are old enough>
(See guidance on confidentiality below)
If you are a child or young person, you can talk to your GP confidentially. Follow this link for some advice on talking to your GP about your mental health or any problems you are having.
From the age of 16 years, young people are entitled to full confidentiality from their GP who therefore cannot share information with anyone, even their parents, without their consent. Younger children who disclose information with the expectation that it will be confidential are also entitled to that confidentiality (See exceptions below). Of course, GPs will generally encourage teens and young adults to talk to their families about the problems they are experiencing, and most children are happy to involve their parents. For young adults e.g. at college or university, this consent has to be noted in their GP records. Without that consent, parents may still call their GP to share their concerns even if the GP cannot give information about them.
A GP may disclose confidential information in exceptional circumstances e.g. if they judge that disclosure is in the best interests of the child (who may not have the maturity to make a decision about disclosure) or where disclosure is required by law or is in the public interest.