General Practitioners / College Doctors can be seen not just for physical health and severe mental problems but for other life concerns too. In fact most GPs feel that they are open to discuss anything that their patients want to raise with them. Access to GPs is usually fairly immediate, and they have call-out procedures for emergencies outside of surgery hours. Information shared with a GP is confidential and has the advantage of being outside of the University or college structures.
Many students are worried that if they consult a GP about emotional or mental health concerns that they will end up having a medical record of mental illness. In practice many of the concerns that a student might want to address would not be labelled as a 'mental illness', 25% of the population are affected by varying degrees of anxiety and depression; research samples of student populations have shown levels of between 30 and 50% affected. No-one would claim that such large proportions of the population are 'mentally ill'. Even where a diagnosis is made and recorded in patient notes there are very strict protocols concerns the confidentiality of this information. It is likely that serious problems can be headed off by seeking help and advice early on, rather than waiting until they have become overwhelming. Where there is a need for psychological or psychiatric services which go beyond counselling, the GP is the gateway to these secondary services. GPs can recommend various self-help measures and information on counselling and other forms of support. Medication may be offered to help relieve the immediate symptoms of anxiety, depression, sleeplessness etc.
Oxford Brookes University
The Medical Centre offers a confidential and comprehensive medical service providing nursing advice, Doctor's surgeries, contraception, pregnancy testing and help with stress and anxiety and eating problems etc. Details of the surgeries and opening hours can be found on the Brookes' web site.
Details of Oxford University's College Doctors can be found on the University's individual college web sites. See also http://www.ox.ac.uk/students/welfare/health/doctors