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History of mental illness - how much detail to go into? How far back?

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Hello,

I am about to book my medical interview in London. I know that it extremely important to be honest - but how honest?

Today I remembered that when I was 15 or so I made a not-particularly-serious suicide attempt. I took a small number of pills and immediately panicked and went to my GP. She referred me to the local hospital where I was kept in-patient for a few days, but I didn't need my stomach pumped or have any physical symptoms as a result. I had honestly kind of forgotten about the whole thing and can't remember any concrete details about it - it was almost 15 years ago!

However, my mental health will definitely be discussed during the medical. When I was a teenager I used to harm myself. I still have visible scars from this time in my life. I am very prepared to discuss this, I have letters from GPs and old counsellors and people who knew me at this time.

Should I add the 'suicide' attempt in my disclosure? On one hand it was so long ago and I remember so little about it that it seems useless to do so. I no longer live in the same city I did when this happened and getting information from my old GP office seems like it would be difficult, so any details (dates, doctors' names) would be extremely vague or non-existent. On the other hand, with the very obvious evidence of my past history of mental health issues it seems like it might come up, and I don't want to seem like I'm trying to hide anything, especially not a days-long stay on a psychiatric ward.

Any thoughts or perspective kindly appreciated.

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In my book, there's only one degree of honest and that's to tell the whole truth. :)

During your medical, you will be asked if you have scars. If you give an honest answer, it will lead to more questions regarding how those scars were inflicted and that's probably gonna lead to the question if you have attempted suicide. Wouldn't the suicide attempt still be in our medical record though, so your current GP can see what happened? Try having your GP write a letter regarding your mental state/health now and hopefully that might be enough. Like you said, that incident was a very long time ago.


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Thank you for your reply! I've been mulling this over all afternoon and I've came to the same conclusion as you have.

I have a short letter from my current GP confirming that I haven't harmed myself for at least 10 years and that there's nothing to make him think that I would harm myself or another person; a letter from a counsellor I had at the time, a little more detailed - but she didn't know about the suicide attempt; and a statement from myself, laying everything out, giving a little context to what was going on with me at the time, and explaining how I have improved my mental health and coping mechanisms in the past decade. I will edit this last statement to include information about the suicide attempt. Do you think this would be enough? Should I contact my childhood GP office and see if they would be able to release a little more information, or would this not be necessary?

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I think those letters will be okay. It was such a long time ago and you haven't done anything since. Definitely mention it because they will check. You will undress (not completely) in front of the doctor and he will see the scars and those kind of scars are pretty obvious. I'm not saying that to judge, I'm saying that because I have a friend of used to cut her arms and even though it was many years ago you can still see them and there's no doubt what she did.

I'm glad you're doing much better now. Teenage years can be tough :/






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