Discussion of mental health concerns in GP consultations


Mental health concerns are a significant element of the GP’s workload. These can range from relatively minor to more severe and chronic problems. Many patients only receive help with their mental health from their GP, but little is known about whether, when and how help is actually requested and provided. Previous research has demonstrated that patients can have concerns which are not addressed during the consultation and these are mainly psychosocial concerns, for example, worries, stress and depression. A better understanding of the management of mental health concerns in the consultation could pave the way towards an improved service for patients.

This project is analysing an existing dataset, namely the HaRI data, to identify how mental health is raised and discussed in GP consultations. The project is using Conversation Analysis (CA). Questions that are central during this analysis are: who initiates the talk about mental health? how and when in the consultation is this done? how is this initiation responded to? The results of this doctoral work will be used to reflect on and understand the perspective of patients and GPs on the management of mental health problems. Other qualitative method(s) (e.g. interviews or focus groups) will be used in this part of the study.

The final part of the work will involve the identification of optimal ways, when communicating about mental health concerns in the consultation, that could be implemented in practice. 

Partners & Collaborators

University College London

University of Southampton

Lead Investigator
Investigating Team
Jamie Ross (UCL)
Geraldine Leydon (Southampton)
Shoba Poduval (UCL)
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