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Questions to ask mental health professionals

It's helpful to write a list of questions before meeting with any of the team involved in your care and recovery. This can reduce anxiety and make the best use of valuable time.

We have prepared these lists of questions as a guide for you to use. They can help you get information about your:

  • diagnosis
  • assessment
  • care

Think about which questions are useful for you, or if you have any other questions that are not on these lists.

Before a diagnosis:

  • If I don't have a diagnosis yet, what are the chances I will get one?
  • How long will it be before there is a diagnosis?
  • Are there different points of view about what I am experiencing?

Diagnosis

  • What does my diagnosis mean in simple terms?
  • What are the main features of this diagnosis?
  • What do you know about the causes of my diagnosis?
  • What is likely to happen in the future?
  • Where can I get more information about this?

Assessment

  • What assessments have you done?
  • What are the results of the assessments?
  • What happens next?
  • Will you need to do more assessments?

Care, treatment and recovery

  • What is the plan for treating my mental health problem?
  • What are the aims of the care, treatment and recovery plan?
  • Will I have a 'key worker'? Who will this be and what does this mean?
  • Who else will be involved in my care?
  • How often will appointments be made to see a member of the clinical team? Which member of the team will this be?
  • When can I expect to see an improvement?
  • Would talking therapies (psychotherapy) be helpful? If so, is it available near me?
  • Are there any other therapies that might be helpful?
  • Are there alternative therapies available, if I am not comfortable with the care and treatment plan?

Getting help

  • Who do I contact if I’m worried about something?
  • How can I get in touch with you?
  • Who do I contact in an emergency?
  • If I’m admitted or detained involuntarily can I appeal that decision?

Medication

  • Will I be on medication?
  • If I am on medication, what medication will I be on and why?
  • What should the benefits of this medication be? both short-term and long-term
  • What are the possible side effects of this medication? both short-term and long-term
  • How long will I need to take this medication?
  • How often will my medication be reviewed?
  • Are there any other options that could be used if this medication does not work?
  • What signs or symptoms might mean that the medication should be changed?
  • What is likely to happen if I stop taking the medication without discussing this with anyone?
  • Do you have any information about this medication that I can take home?

Inpatient treatment

  • What happens if there is no bed available?
  • How long will I need to stay in hospital for?
  • What arrangements need to be in place for me to leave hospital?
  • If transport is difficult, can I be housed near family or friends?
  • Can any benefits be organised so they are there when I am discharged?
  • Who will help me to manage payments so I don't get in trouble

For concerned family or friends

  • Will we be involved in discussions concerning their recovery?
  • What can we do to help?
  • Are there any local self-help or carers’ groups?
  • What other supports are available for us, as carers?
  • For in-patient care: how often can I see them?
  • What happens if they won't accept certain types of treatment? are there other options?
  • If it's not okay for them to return home, what other options are available in our area?
  • Who can advise us about other housing options?

If you are concerned about someone else, ask if they are happy for you to be involved in their care. You will need their permission before health professionals can share personal information with you. They have a right to confidentiality.

Page last reviewed: 02/10/2018
Next review due: 02/10/2021

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