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GP Communication: Managing trauma

As the first point of healthcare contact for most people, GPs are often relied upon to diagnose and manage patients who have experienced a traumatic event. While those who work in areas such as the military and emergency services often come to mind when considering posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its associated mental health issues, there are many other instances in which it can and should be examined.

‘GPs see a lot of patients who have experienced trauma, whether it is road accidents, workplace injuries, violence, domestic violence, child abuse, refugees or war-related trauma,’ Professor Danielle Mazza, Head of the Department of General Practice at Monash University, told Good Practice.

‘There is a whole range of experiences that can present with mental health issues in relation to trauma in general practice. ‘Because of the skills that GPs have in managing psychological as well as physical health conditions – they know their patients’ psychosocial context, the communities they come from and their medical and family history – they are probably the best placed to deal with trauma patients.’