My name is Samantha and I'm a psychiatrist.
I work at a hospital and I would see you if you were referred by your GP, your general practitioner or any other specialist or even your counselor.
And you know, you might have a whole range of symptoms such as depression or anxiety or even memory problems.
We would have a chat about what's going on and how I can help you.
So it can be quite scary for someone to, come and see a psychiatrist for the first time - they may not have seen one before.
There's often a lot of stereotypes and I guess notions about what psychiatrists are and what we do. Seeing a psychiatrist for the first time can be a bit intimidating because the appointments are generally quite long. So we would have someone seen for about minutes and I think that's not unusual.
And the reason for that is because we often want to gather quite a lot of information.
When someone comes to their first appointment I think hopefully they have a bit of an awareness of why they've come. So, if for example they've come because they're feeling depressed you know it would be useful to have some information about their previous treatments for example.
If they can, collate letters, or if they've written notes about how they've been feeling over the, last couple of days or couple weeks it can be really useful.
Sometimes when you're put on the spot it can be really hard to think about you know what happened last week or the week before, so that can be really useful.
I also think it's really good to have a list of questions. Because at the end of the appointment when I do ask, "do you have any questions?" that can be really hard when you're put on the spot to have questions like, "when do I see you next?" “what's going to happen?" "is this information going to my GP?" So you can prepare that way, and a lot of patients actually do bring a lot of notes and lots and lots of papers.
Some people have often looked on the internet about particular treatments already, or ask about a particular diagnosis they think they've got. So people often do prepare. I think it's really good that they come in prepared with information.
As a psychiatrist I'm really interested in finding out a lot about the person themselves and about their background and their story, because this really helps guide what kind of treatments and what kind of things they would be interested in doing and how we can help manage these symptoms.
And so we would ask things about obviously what they think the issues are, we'd ask about their family, their family history.
We often ask about their personal history and perhaps things like growing up and going to school and university and work life. Perhaps even relationships. If the person does have a history of depression or anxiety I would obviously ask a lot about that because we do want to know about what's happened to them in the past, what things have helped them, what hasn't. Because these things are going to help us try and help them in what's going to happen for their ongoing treatment.
I think it's actually really important that a patient does bring someone with them, if they want to. So, the reason for that would not just be for support but often as a psychiatrist I'm actually really interested in hearing what the family member or the spouse wants to say as well.
Try to think about seeing a psychiatrist like seeing any other specialty. Yes we do ask lots of questions and it might seem like an interrogation, but we're not analysing you, we're not making you sit on the couch and and turn your back to us, we're not doing anything like that.
You know, we're just really interested in finding out who you are, and why you're here.