My Family doctor Gave Me a Psychological Test!

Last week, I went to see my family doctor for my annual check up. Its a clinic that I have been going to for more than 10 years. It was always the same procedure. However this time around, it was different. I was astonished to see the clinic implementing something new; a psychological test looking at more than 22 psychological constructs.

The nurse passed me an Ipad with the survey open on it, looked at me with her beautiful eyes (resembles the nurse in the picture), smiled, and told me to take the survey before I see the doctor. She gave me the option of choosing whether to share the results with my doctor, nonetheless, she emphasized the importance of taking such a test. It took me around 15 minutes to complete the test.

As I walked into his office puzzled, my doctor was extremely happy to know that I chose to take the survey and share my results with him. I was still confused; why would a family physician care about something I am taking in PSYC 406? I told the doctor what was going through my head. He smiled gently, and told me that such tests have been used at his clinic for the past year and have extremely helped him. I went back home, did some research and found some pretty interesting things!

A professor of psychiatry at the University of McMaster found that 81% of mental health patients see their FPs, yet only 71% receive any form of treatment because physicians are unaware of what their patients may have; there is a great discrepancy. As a result, visits to family doctors can be a great opportunity to promote psychological well-being by recognizing patients’ psychological problems. One must not forget that family doctors may also be exposed to certain psychological problems that may affect a patient’s physical symptoms; thus, finding such vital information can help physicians make the right diagnosis.

This survey was definitely one of its first kind to form this important bridge between primary health care and mental health. I aspire to see several other family physicians across Canada follow into the footsteps of my doctor. Lets start giving out those surveys and make Dr. Stotland proud!

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