I believe the best way is to identify the groups above and actively work our way down the first three groups listed. If all consultations for physical conditions end with screening mental health question to identify at risk patients, then more patients may be identified. The main crux of the matter lies in the fact that people must be aware that GP and mental health support is still available. GPs are open and have the capacity to deal with mental health problems. Patients must be aware that mental health conditions are considered a priority and will be dealt with promptly and safely. This would normally be over the phone initially, but other methods of consulting must be offered if this is not acceptable/possible or if the practitioner has any doubt about the reliability of assessment without face to face interaction. A video consultation may offer a higher degree of interaction allowing assessment of body language and an assessment of the “physical face” of mental illness. The issue of social distancing and PPE must then be considered as it would for any physical condition requiring actual face to face consulting.
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