During the first lockdown Dr Saxena hosted mental health workshops for patients to provide a safe place to share their worries and explore thoughts they'd never had.
"The uncertainty of the first lockdown was very difficult. Jobs, health and the future seemed very bleak and as a result, I started having more consultations with patients who had never thought they'd feel low or anxious before."
Dr Saxena found that providing an open platform for patients to discuss their worries was itself cathartic. Furthermore patients knew they were booking into an appointment to solely discuss their mental health - which for some was a new experience.
"I found for some patients, this was their first ever discussion with someone about their mental health. Even their loved ones were not fully aware of the impact the lockdown was having on them. Nonetheless opening up and accepting there is a problem can be very difficult, but is the first step towards tackling low mood and anxiousness."
In this clinic Dr Saxena will help you analyse problems, discuss resilience and strategies in coping with triggers, and signposting to services and available help. The consultation can be a video consultation or a telephone consultation.
To book into this clinic:
- Please call reception and tell them you want to book into Dr Saxena's COVID Mental Health Clinic
- Each slot is 15 minutes, and will be available on a first come first served basis.
- If you have pre-existing mental health we can see you in normal clinic slots
- Please note Dr Saxena is providing these appointments in addition to normal clinic. This will not affect your ability to book a normal appointment.
- If you are having thoughts of suicide or self harm please contact the surgery immediately or call 111/999.
How to prepare for this clinic:
On the day Dr Saxena will call you and send you a video link to your phone to join your appointment.
Dr Saxena would like you to think about the following questions:
What is going through your mind.
Start by making a list of your "triggers" or worries.
Then try to write about one problem/trigger at a time. How has it impacted you and for how long? Why are you worried about that problem? How rationale is your fear? What solutions do you see to this problem?
You can write these problems on paper, on your phone or type them up.
Dr Saxena recommends signing up to https://togetherall.com/en-gb TogetherAll is a free platform for our patients. It provides a great journal to track your thoughts and progress, and has some great courses to help you create coping strategies. Try answering the question above by entering your thoughts in your "Journal".
2. Do you think your mood, your sleep, and your appetite has changed?
3. Was your job affected by COVID? (if yes, how?)
Who do you live with? Have they been affected?
Do you smoke?
Do you drink alcohol? (if yes, how much/week)
Has your drinking/smoking increased during lockdown?
How active were you and how was your diet before lockdown? Has COVID impacted your exercise and diet?