This is generally not a good idea.
Just as you would not hire me to build you a house because even though I can figure out how to lay bricks and stack them, you should not seek out mental health expertise from those are are not mental health experts.
The trouble with most people is that they trust those around them. And as a result they tend to lend credence to whatever advice (or potential psychotropic prescription pills) that they may give.
This is a bad idea.
Too often people go to see their primary care physician and get a prescription for whatever mental health condition ails them. Feeling depressed? Antidepressants should do the trick. Can't focus? How bout some Adderall!
This is not helpful for a variety of reason, can be potentially dangerous (such as was the case for this poor kid), and is not dealing with the root of the problem.
Let's take depression for example. In most cases, depression happens because something in someone's life is not going the way they want. There are cases where the depression is totally organic and the person feels depressed despite what might otherwise be fantastic life circumstances, but for the majority of our clients depression has a cause which cannot merely be covered up with drugs. The reason for this is simple: the cause is still there in spite of how many pills you take.
So what we must do, and what the research informs us to do, is take a more holistic approach. Psychotropic antidepressants can create the capacity for feelings of well being, but it only creates the capacity. The mind must do the rest. That's where psychotherapy comes in.
Psychotherapy gets to the root of problems, helps people cope with situations that might be out of their control, and helps them to gain control of situations that are within their capacity for control. When these two approaches are combined (when therapy is practiced by a counselor and medication is practiced by a psychiatrist) we see the greatest potential for the person to break the cycle of depression. The data is very definitive about combining talk therapy with pharmacotherapy in order to see the greatest potential efficacy.
There are no shortcuts.
Primary care physicians are great, and I do not mean to deride them, but it is beyond the scope of their expertise to attempt to diagnose and treat mental health conditions. Too often they will do it anyway, and this practice must stop.
After a recent wealth of mass homicides, we are just now as a nation turning our attention to what many have called a "broken" mental health system. Let me say this: our system isn't broken, but rather, no one has been listening to us.