Who is involved in prescribing medicines?
For many medicines used for mental health problems, it is a specialist doctor (often a psychiatrist) who will give you the first prescription for your medicine. You may be seen by other mental health professionals as well. A doctor may write the first prescription, but you may see a nurse for follow-up and ongoing prescriptions.
Sometimes it might be your GP, especially if it is a short course of a medicine to help you to sleep, or to relax before an operation or test. A GP may start medication before you see another doctor.
When you start taking regular medicines, you will probably have to go back to your specialist doctor in the first few weeks. They may also call you to check that you are doing OK, and not getting too many side-effects.
After that it is still important to keep going back for checks when you get your appointment letter or phone call. You can use these checkups to ask any questions that you have thought of. You should, however, phone your clinic or GP at any time if you need to ask anything between appointments.
If you are having a long-acting injection, you will go back to hospital every 2-4 weeks to get your next dose. It is important not to miss a dose, or your symptoms could come back.
Sometimes people who are doing well and are steady on their medicines may start getting their prescription from the GP. This means that you do not have to go back to the mental health team as much. You will still have to go for check-up appointments with your mental health team – watch out for your appointment letter or phone call.
You will have a treatment plan or care plan that tells you what medication you have been prescribed and describes any other treatment that has been agreed. The plan may also tell you what to do if you are worried or are not feeling well.