Be careful about mental health labelling

Date Published: 
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Dr Bruce Arroll talks about the distressed patient and taking care when making a diagnosis. Bruce is a Professor in the Department of General Practice and Primary Care at the University of Auckland.




  • Addressing symptoms rather than applying a label in the first consultation.
  • Often patients have applied a label to themselves. How do we avoid feeding into this ourselves?
  • Talk first, prescribe later!
  • Activity scheduling and behavioural activation
  • Scheduling sleep
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Exercising earlier in the day
  • Considering nutrition
  • Sunshine hours
  • Medications - is each new drug less effective?
  • Effects of early childhood trauma
  • Addressing inequity in mental health.


Take home messages

  • Avoid making mental health diagnosis at the first visit.
  • Behavioural activation is the cornerstone of good management (sleep, exercise, diet, mindfulness)
  • Medications such as SSRI are not without issue
  • Inequity is problematic in this arena.





Dr Bruce Arroll
General Practitioner

To contact Bruce Click here.




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This presentation is intended for qualified health practitioners professional development and should not be relied upon for any other purpose. Any opinions offered are those of the presenter or other speaker and do not necessarily represent the views of Goodfellow Unit.