ProCare is a group of over 400 GPs in the greater Auckland area, who work together to provide primary health services, psychological services and health promotion to 650,000 Aucklanders. ProCare has developed a primary mental health programme over the past 7 years, which includes ongoing upskilling of the GP practice teams, funded extended GP/Practice Nurse consultations to assess and address mental health issues, and funded access to brief psychological intervention.
My personal wellness was deteriorating and my positive attitude to life was somewhat deflated. I immediately took action to change this. I rang my GP and made an appointment for that day. I have a great relationship with my GP that has spanned over 12 years. He listened to me and [confirmed] that I was suffering from depression. He immediately got onto the phone and organised for me to see the ProCare psychiatrist two days later.
Previously I’d used community mental health services but then I chose to go through my GP. [Before this episode] I’d rung the mental health services for support, and they told me that unless I was going to kill myself or someone else they couldn’t be seen for a week or two. But when I start to become unwell it snowballs quickly within days. I only have a small window of opportunity for me to seek the help I need. After that I don’t think that I need help any more.
I saw the ProCare psychiatrist and psychologist, each for six sessions. The immediate support I received enabled me to develop some more coping skills that I could add to my toolbox. The psychiatrist supported me by looking into different medications and natural remedies, as my body reacts strongly to any sort of medication. The psychologist supported me with cognitive behavioural therapy which gave me great insight into how to change some of the thoughts I was having that were not helpful to me. Both of these wonderful people made an enormous difference to me regaining full control of my life again.
They listened to me and gave me their immediate support when I needed it most. They acknowledged how I felt, and listened to my ideas about [what worked] for me. They were supportive, encouraging, empowering and most of all cared about my personal wellbeing. They treated me with dignity and respect and most of all like a person that was valued. [Going to ProCare] gave me a great deal of confidence in my ability to recognise my symptoms as well as the courage to acknowledge all was not okay in my world, and that is okay.
During this time I was also able to continue in full time work but was supported by my employer to attend my sessions [at ProCare] .
My experience with ProCare has made me aware of the positive impact clinical services can have in our recovery process.